Something about watching the love of one’s life die inch by inch, dismantled from within by a voracious yet mysteriously invisible foe …It seems like such a personal thing. Like God couldn’t possibly do such a thing without malice. But I’m told it was nothing personal. I’m told it just is what it is. Cancer just eats people alive and kills them, God kills even little babies, and there is nothing we can do about it. It just is what it is.
Those are the words, anyway, for what just happened.
My lover has died of cancer.
But what do words have to do with any of this? Words offered nothing during this. Whole volumes of them tumbling out of educated mouths, growing out of Internet sites, and climbing out of books could not explain any of this away, could not give comfort, could not produce a solution nor even a map. Words can’t share this experience. There is no narrative for this.
No, no words. My lover died before my eyes, and I could only bleed into canvas.
It was like the lifeblood leaving both of us, staining each canvas with what could not really be happening, with all the things we could not really bear. And so broken hearts mingle with crackling nerve synapses, dangling entrails wind around bone and sinew, and spinal columns rise and fall through the shadows like the snake in the garden. It was, after all, where the cancer crept…from kidney into bone, bursting forth from the l4 vertibrae and then In tiny, microscopic pieces up the spine to the brain.
It was a springtime of endings and a summer of death. A lot of canvas, once as clean and white as any hospital sheet, bears the only witness to this pain.