There is a distinction between cancer free and cured. Possibility it’s in the permanence of the status. Cancer free is temporary; it suggests there’s a chance the disease will come back. But cured…that’s permanent, that’s a miracle and magical. In reality, when a patient receives the cancer-free label, it probably doesn’t look all that different from a cured patient. The only distinction may be that when you think someone is cured you shift your priorities slightly in a way you wouldn’t if someone is only cancer free.
I didn’t understand the distinction between cured and cancer-free on April 4, 2017, which is why I made a decision that would be an unending source of agony in the coming weeks. You see, on April 4, 2017, I decided that I would not go to Duke with Matt on May 2nd for his next MRI. I was chairing an event at H’s school. I made a need assessment: who needed me most where and was someone there to fill in. I decided H needed me so that he wasn’t the only kid without his mom at the event and Matt’s mom could fill in for me at Matt’s appointment. A vital decision was made at that appointment, a decision I whole heartedly agreed with and was teleconferenced in for, but I wasn’t physically there to make. Although the story would have remained the same had I been with Matt, it feels significant now.
Last night at dinner, G asked me how Daddy and I met. H asked me, with a big, kindergarten-boy-sly-grin whether I had a crush on Daddy. One of the hardest things (among an ocean of hard things) about losing Matt is losing the person who shared the memory of us. Our origin story. I’ve been listening to this song, I Like Me Better by Lauv, because the first line is something about being young and in love in NYC…followed by being drunk and in love in NYC…and now I’m the only one who remembers how we were young and in love (and often drunk) in NYC. Those late nights stumbling home, those lazy mornings ordering in giant Murray’s bagels, are mine alone to remember.
For G: We met in the Meatpacking District at a club called Glo. I waited in line with two guy friends clutching tickets from a club promotor while Matt and his friends breezed into the club. I wore a sequined red off-the-shoulder shirt and Matt bought me a drink and handed me a business card with a picture of a toilet seat.
For H: Yes, I had a crush on Daddy and he had a crush on me, but it took him almost a year to admit it. When he did, sitting at a high-top table by the windows at City Crab, he never looked back.
Our story is not a dramatic, sweeping love story. But it was ours and, apropos of our entire relationship and marriage, hysterical and quirky and worth remembering.