It hasn’t been a bad year

So… have you at any point shot a worn-out look at a friend and uttered something along the lines of “Seriously, what’s up with 2016?”

I sure have. I’ve waded through the never ending shit-storm of a brutal separation. I’ve watched loved ones endure loss and hardship. I’ve questioned humanity and my place in it while alternately binge reading and hiding from news of Aleppo, Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, Brexit, and the enormous wank of a US President-elect (not to mention Jian fucking Ghomeshi).

I’ve been bewildered at how absurdity, tragedy and gross injustice can continue to pile up without reprieve, and felt happy to soon be saying good riddance to a shit year. Surely there’s some planet junk going on and 2017 will be better. The cosmic scales owe us an enormous solid, has been my general read.

This is where my head was at until last week, when I learned that Jackson has a tumour in his left clavicle. When I stopped in my tracks, on my way to dinner with colleagues on the other side of the world, to hear words like “CT scan” “biopsy” and “chemo” come through my cell phone. When I turned around in the blink of an eye to throw my things back into a suitcase and travel 30 straight hours from Johannesburg to Halifax, where my little boy was already being seen by oncologists at the IWK.

I don’t know what to expect yet. Tomorrow morning at 7:30 we will sign consent forms and send him in to be sedated for an MRI, tissue biopsy, and a bone marrow biopsy to find out if I’m to face my worst fears. I’ll meet his dad there and we will try to let our shared love for the sweetest 5-year-old boy subdue our boundless fury.

I understand now that this hasn’t been a bad year. I’m in my mid-thirties, and I’m having to come to terms with what life is. Life is a disaster. It’s a hot mess of pain and suffering, disappointment and wtaf..?

I do realize I’m several thousands of years late to the party on this one, but I’m finding there is peace in this place of acceptance. Please don’t misread – I don’t for one second encourage or condone acceptance of a status quo that is wrong and needs challenging. But I am experiencing some lightness and freedom in knowing there’s no better year coming. 2017 is going to blow too, and we’re going to fight when we need to fight and rejoice when we have the opportunity to rejoice.

I’m scared, and I may not sleep tonight, and I know this post will knock the breath from some of the people who love me. I promise to do a follow up post when I’ve had time to process the results. But for now my larger lesson is not to sideline myself in the mind’s waiting room hoping for the storm to break, when there is fleeting beauty that needs attention.

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Photos by someone I’m very, very thankful for.

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