There was really loud music playing outside my apartment last night. Like really loud. On a Sunday. What were they doing? Celebrating the fact that they have to go to work tomorrow? Were they like, “Yes! We have jobs! Now crank that shit up!!”
I was in Greensboro, North Carolina over the weekend for a family reunion. We stayed at the La Quinta Inn. La Quinta - Spanish for “you can bring the dogs.”
I love seeing family I haven’t seen in a long time because people tell me how good I look. When you have cancer it lowers people’s expectations of your appearance. Since I haven’t lost my hair and I’ve gained all my weight back people are like, “you look amazing!” I don’t mean to brag but if I’m a 7 in normal life in cancer world I’m a 10.
It was the McBride family reunion. My grandmother on my dad’s side was a McBride and she had three sisters. This was the reunion of their families. People came from all over the country. The Carolinas. Ohio. Nebraska. Oregon. New York. There was lots of food and games. People were playing badminton, soccer, corn hole.
Side bar- can we please come up with a different name for that game?
Friend: What did you do this weekend?
Me: Played corn hole with my cousins.
End of play.
There were the pictures. Lots of pictures. When you first walked in there was a table with photos of the four sisters when they were younger. I showed Jaimie my grandmother. She looked beautiful there in black and white. After lunch there was this incredible slide show of the families through the years. Even the cake we had for dessert had a picture of the four of them as children.
I loved looking at all of them, at those moments frozen in time. It was incredible to see the smiles on their faces, their futures unwritten, their fates unknown. We know them now of course, the ends of their stories have been revealed by the march of time.
Toward the end of the afternoon everyone got together for a giant group shot. I looked at it today. There were my aunts and uncles and cousins. There were were my parents and sisters. There was Jaimie and my brother in law. It made me happy to see us all together. It made me happy to know that our endings were still unknown. It made me happy to think about this photo being shown at a reunion fifty years from now, someone trying to figure out who everyone was.
I have no idea how my story will end or when it will come. But I’m thankful for the fact that I was there for that moment. And I’m thankful for the fact that when someone sees my face 50 years from now they wouldn’t be able to tell that I had cancer.
I hope I’m there to tell them. That would be wonderful. To be in North Carolina on my 89 birthday, looking at that picture saying:
Me: There. That’s me in the left corner.
Younger relative: Yep, there you are.
Me: I had cancer in that picture
Younger Relative: What? No way.
Younger Relative: What happened?
Me: I got treatment and it went away.
Younger relative: Wow, that’s crazy.
Me: I know.
Younger Relative: Well… you looked amazing.
End of play