The Suburb Woman
The Thief
Posted on September 9th, 2014

Some days the fear sneaks up on me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact it was a year ago The Thief entered our lives. It was spending every second casing us, appearing in the background of our photos, listening to our conversations, and taking our security without our knowledge. It was there in the moments you think will go on forever – so you keep planning and scheduling days, weeks, months and years ahead.

That was September 2013.

I woke this first day of September 2014 terrified from a dream. 

There was a massive hole full of water.  A loved one, who I thought could swim, jumped in and disappeared from view.  I begged God to save them. I was afraid I might perish if I tried because of the inability to hold my breath as long as I needed to bring them to the surface. After screaming for someone to get the water out, someone to do something, and waiting for my loved one to surface – I dove in.

To my surprise, I could breathe under the water. I could take full breaths of air the deeper I sank.

I found my loved one and surfaced from the depths below as if something or someone expedited our rise. As I shot out of the water embracing my loved one – I sat straight up in bed gasping for air.

Why that dream? Why now?

One of my haunting regrets happened the week before Mike’s tumor – the thief – was discovered.  I’ve spoken about it to a few close friends, but otherwise I’ve carried it with me. It was the first thing I thought of again this morning as I woke.

Mike has an annual business trip to Vermont for a meeting with one of his clients. I go along and we usually planned a few extra days for just us.  Last year, we chose to fly in and out of Montreal.  As the trip approached, I had a major project I was working on that consumed my thoughts, focus and time.  I took my laptop and if I wasn’t working on the power point and materials physically, I was rewriting and evaluating the presentation in my mind during our time.

This was a beautiful, historic French city and is as close to Paris as I’ve been. We even dined in candlelit restaurants housed in centuries-old buildings – and all I could think about was work.  I reasoned the work I was doing was for the betterment of many and the sacrifice of those few days would be worth it. I reasoned there would be other trips, other dinners and other conversations.

On the last morning of our long weekend, Mike wanted to attend mass at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.  I can’t begin to describe the beauty of the sanctuary of this church. However, that Sunday morning, I made a deal with him I would spend those couple of focused hours wrapping up the work for the presentation while he attended mass and then I wouldn’t talk about it the rest of the day.  He was gracious, because he was and is a true partner in all I do.

Of all the hours in a day or a weekend I could focus on that I desperately want back over the course of our years together – it’s those from that weekend, that Sunday morning. The last time, the last trip we didn't have the worry of life without the other.

We left on a flight early the next day – Monday – and I made my presentation that afternoon.
A week later we were talking about the headache he couldn’t shake.

10 days later, The Thief – a malignant brain tumor – was revealed.

Fast forward to today… Labor Day… The contents of that presentation are long gone. Those easy conversations and safe, fairly predictable days and schedules are gone.  And although much is improved, it’s not the same.  Honestly, I’m still making peace with that.

I’m learning to embrace our new normal as an every day reminder to do your absolute best at what you do professionally, but not as a personal sacrifice of loved ones and relationships. Some days are easier than others.

And as I bolted from the nightmare early this morning to welcome a day I can spend with my family and some close friends – I’m reminded of how God gives me the ability to breath deeply in murky water when I trust Him and of the message in this Old Testament scripture:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; The flames will not set you ablaze… Forget the former things; Do not dwell on the past; See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43: 2, 18-19)

Friends, life is but a vapor. 

Do not let a day go by you don’t express love to loved ones,grant forgiveness, embrace the beauty in front of you, and trust in a good and loving God.

And if you have to choose in your personal time between work and enjoying a moment with your spouse, child, parent, and friend or to bring encouragement to a dear soul … choose love.

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