I grew up in Northern California where school children learn how the original 49ers filtered for gold in sluice boxes. If I intently choose to use the filter of ‘refinement’ (much like a sluice box) to look at late November & December of 2019 I see I was trying catch the thin wafers of gold before they were washed away by the waters of ‘everyday’.
My beloved Rick was freed of the shackles of cancer on March 12, 2020. Although at times it has been ‘off the pain scale chart’-hard to walk through even a minute of those 3.75 months, Rick is honored by me finding even those single razor-thin ‘gold flakes’ of the good, the precious, the worthwhile that was contained in the days of Nov. 2019 through Mid-March 2020. That is the last, heroic gold-filled chapter of Rick’s life and all the days after are a tribute to him and an affirmation that by entering my life he encouraged powerful positivity into mine, unto this day.
I am reminded of the precious heartwarming times now in mid-December of 2019 when Facebook displays my last December memories. My posts then were heavily veiled references of the gold after Rick’s diagnosis -as at his request we did not go public with his Stage 4 PanCan diagnosis at that time.
But just yesterday a benign Facebook post of us deciding that sushi for dinner was ‘a reward for a trying day’ immediately brought the details & memories back. Dec 10, 2019 was Rick’s oncology appointment to assess his blood test numbers if he could begin Chemo on Dec 12th. His numbers were good and his Oncologist & Palliative Care Nurse-Practitioner were running through final information. From our ‘Chemo Class’ training we knew that during chemo Rick would not be able to enjoy dining on his weekly Sushi during treatment.
Rick’s entire chemo team was a group of amazingly talented Superheroes, all with more than a typical human share of goodness & empathy. And then the glimmer of ‘normal life’ and peace of mind were shown to us by his Palliative Care ‘N/P’. Somehow Rick mentioned that he knew he could no longer enjoy Sushi during treatment, but this “Angel in a white coat” told us that on the eve of his first Chemo his immune system was the strongest it would be for a while so ‘Chemo Eve’ was the best time for one last Sushi dinner. And knowing Rick as I do, the thought of this last, soon to be ‘taboo’ dinner made it all the more appealing!
This simple suggestion fanned the small flame of hope for both of us! December 11th, 2019 Rick & I both went about our workday with a plan for a dinner date at our favorite Sushi restaurant. It was a welcome return to a familiar haunt. Now I realize that we both were re-immersed in a world of actions & routine that were mundanely ‘normal’ and comforting and on this evening were solid gold!
Looking back, I remember subtly soaking everything in, deliberately looking around the room, taking in aromas and even the background chatter of other patrons and wishing I could by sheer intention infuse Rick in feelings of familiarity, comfort, rejuvenation, healing and HOPE. Seeing the temporary absence of somberness and pain on Rick’s face and soaking in his carefree chatter in ordering his beloved ‘Hopyard Roll’ I am once again there- sitting at the sushi bar to Rick’s elbow-left, smelling the aroma of soy sauce and willing the comfortable feeling of everyday love-life to exponentially live and grow within my heart & soul. For a brief hour there was no chemo, no cancer, just the two of us, out on a dinner date at one of our favorite places. And yes, ahh yes -it still thrives to this day and the value is priceless! Oh, the powerful talisman of memories, they sustain me.