22 June 1999
if the earthly fades and has forgot
you, whisper to the silent Earth, "I flow."
To the rushing waters say, "I am."
Rilke, transcribed and sent us by a friend
"While you were dancing at the 50th party, we were dancing our annual
Eagle Dance...I dance to the Tree of Life for you and the girls...We did
a round of dedications where each dancer names someone in need of healing
or help and the entire circle dances for that person. At that point we
all danced for you. I continue in my heart."
Email from a friend
"Oh, there are angels. So many angels everywhere. Their house is
set in a wide space, filled with angels."
To Jeanie's Mom, from a charismatic friend in worship
June 22, 1999
Some of you
will have heard this news in an earlier e-mail. An MRI has revealed tumor
on the scale of the first, this time on the left side of Jeanie's brain.
It has grown rapidly -- since the previous scan nine-weeks before in April.
Though in another "quiet area," of the frontal lobe, Jeanie
is experiencing its effects in short-term memory and sequencing (she can
get stuck or distracted in the middle of a process as basic as dressing).
Happily, it must not come anywhere near the "humor center,"
as hers is fully in tact. Nor could she be more sweet-spirited, giving
and receiving love without limit.
We have decided to do another surgery. It is currently scheduled for June
30 at Henry Ford Hospital. Though it is an admittedly aggressive approach,
all the diverse physicians with whom we are in touch, urge it. As previous,
the tumor is accessible without going through healthy tissue and they
anticipate getting ninety percent. It should, for a time, forestall further
change, and there is a small chance that any deficits caused by swelling
pressure, may be alleviated. They will also leave behind a chemo wafer
which will dissolve over time giving the tumorsite direct therapy without
any of the ordinary side effects of chemotherapy. We will need to make
further therapy decisions as we go. For a variety of reasons, it's not
clear whether Nashville is a useful option any longer.
I walk around with a rock in my stomach, though it's size and weight seems
to change with moment and circumstance. Generally, it's about the size
of a softball. I confess it was dragging me under, spiralling quickly
down into dread and despair. Lucy warned me that I was filling up the
house with "worriness." Since then, I've asked the girls to
help me fill the house with light. (That is part of my request to you
as well). We are trying to sing every day together. Perhaps the messengers
of light seen above are reply.
Lydia, from question upon question put to me over a lovely Father's Day
breakfast of her own making, knows all -- at least all of what the doctors
can see and say. Our conversation that morning turned theological -- theodicy,
as it were, meaning and hope. We agree that all things work together for
good in those who love God. Her view is more supernatural than mine, but
she was firm with me that I should speak always out of hope. I'm trying
to listen to my daughters.
The other night, between fits of sleeplessness. I dreamed I'd forgotten
to prepare for a class of children. When I walked in, they were already
waiting and singing. What was the lesson last time? Beatitudes? those
who morn? I'm madly flipping the pages in search of an text. Then in my
ear, practically with music: "The Lord is my light and my salvation."
The whole of Psalm 27 may be commended to us all.
Please pray us light and hope. Remember Jeanie (and Dr. Rock) on the 30th.
And those of us who gather round in love,
P.S. Jeanie's last communication (and an archive of updates) can be found
at thewitness.org. Our friend Beth O'Hara-Fisher
up the block will have information before and after the surgery at 313