Sunday, May 17, 2009

Year Zero

Today is my 37th birthday.

Today is the one year anniversary of Dr Austin finding Wilms' tumors in Pablo's kidneys.

One year ago, I was an hour into an 85 mile ride.

One year ago, Pablo had a bug bite on his tush and was headed to Dr Fleiss' office to have it checked out.

One year ago, Grady was shooting a music video of his classmates' band—his eighth grade graduation project. Jo Ann was producing, Scott Henriksen was the DP.

One year ago, a bike ride and a bug bite and a video shoot all happening on the same day—hours before my bday party—seemed like a lot. You know, 'A LOT,' as we humans are prone to saying. One year on, 'a lot' either has new meaning, or doesn't get used much around here. We either have no room for hyperbole, or we are living in a hyperbolic chamber where stating how 'much' we have going on would be like observing how white a snow storm is when you're teeth-chattering cold in the middle of it. I don't know.

A few minutes ago, Jo Ann and I were talking about Pablo's treatment. She had just served me breakfast in bed, and we were talking about Pablo's treatment. The conversation trailed off and she went upstairs. This trailing off happens a lot. There's no way to have a conclusive conversation about Pablo's treatment. Imagine being engaged in a conversation—an invention, a blueprint for a miracle, a symphony for human cells—for a f***ing year. And imagine each time the conversation starts, wishing that your wishes would do any good. Or that there was a chance the phone might ring with good news. That some laboratory in Antarctica had just found a cure. While we talk, one or the other of us is wishing the 'Candid Camera' crew would jump out of the bushes. For a whole year, we have been wishing that. We still do. Every time I see Pablo's phone-book-thick medical chart at CHLA, I look at it, hoping to find an inconsistency, a mislabeled test result—something to prove they got the wrong kid. It never goes down like that.

While our conversations and wishes can't fix everything, in our hearts we have nothing but faith. It's just that the ground we're standing on is a bit sticky and it's hard to keep our feet moving to that hopeful rhythm in our hearts. We want to, but we get tired. No matter how tired we are, faith still carries us along.

I was at Gelson's grocery store the other day. I am lost and useless in grocery stores. Even when they tell me where to go, I am lost. I have gone to the store more in the past year than in any other year. I have felt more lost in the past year—both in and out of grocery stores—than in any other year. I am a person who searches for meaning in life, and in small things. In the past 365 days I have found meaning—hectares and hectares of it—and I have also found an equal amount of useless, dead, scorched earth. I look one way, and there is a vast, rich plain filled with the 'why' and the 'how' and the 'what.' I look the other way, and there is—it's hard to describe it. I don't want to describe it.

Yesterday was the final day in Year Zero. The coming year can only be better.

OK, I'm gonna go back to having a happy birthday. Promise.


Anonymous said...

Jeff, I love following your Twitter, my heart and prayers go out to Pablo and your family, as a father you have my respect for the love you show your family. FIGHT ON!

See ya,
Dave D.

Stephanie said...

Happy Birthday, Jeff.Sending prayers

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Love to all, Jenefer

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Jeff!!! From your Cousins in Covington, La...Colleen and Meagan. Have a great one!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Jeff! Wishing you and your family all the best in the year ahead!!!!

Dawn: said...

Happy Birthday, Jeff. Thank you for sharing your heart and this year of your life with us. I've learned so much from your journey and feel like I'm a better person because of it.

Anonymous said...

Happy B-day Jeff! I remember one year ago when your family stromed onto 4w with all your demands! ;)
What a scary time. It seems like just yesterday, really. But its also been a long, long year.....

Hope you do have some B-day fun,
you deserve it!
Much Love, Danica

Anonymous said...

love love love to you and happy birthday, too.
ox, eliz h