I’ve Got The Labor Day Blues

Posted by Danny

There are vivid images that are so very difficult.  There was the January day in the hospital right after we learned that the cancer had spread to Lisa’s back.  Her heart started racing that night and the physicians struggled to get it under control.  She glanced up at me and said, “What if we don’t have much time?”  I relive that moment over and over and over again.

I think this past month has probably been the worst since February – or maybe April.  Not all are that bad. 

I’m not 100% sure what’s going on – maybe it’s Capon.  Lots of memories surrounding the discovery of Lisa’s illness there – actually just a lot of memories there.  Her mother and I have a vivid image of Lisa pushing the baby stroller up the golf course with our new nephew napping inside.  She started with stomach issues that week and reported that she made a doctor’s appointment for the minute she returned to Raleigh.  Colon cancer grows for years before the symptoms; we were too late.

Two weeks later we were facing stage 4 colon cancer in the face – the Friday of Labor Day weekend.  I sit here and look  at the chair she was sitting in when I got home that Friday afternoon.  I can see the tears in her beautiful eyes.  I see the position of her body in that chair.  I know exactly what her hair looked like that afternoon.  I think she had a kleenex in her right hand.

At times I can see the entire last six months of her life in fast forward.  The images dance around in my head like a YouTube video.  Her girlfriends coming to give her a pedicure in her hospital bed in the cancer ward.  Family taking turns sleeping on the most uncomfortable recliner in America.  Her last words to me.

I think I’ve run away this summer.  Being out of town for 12 out of 13 weekends allowed me to escape.  I think that’s how I’ve fought this – staying on the run is my medicine.  Go from 7 a.m until 1 a.m. Monday – Friday, get the heck out of town on Friday evening and don’t return until Sunday.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for tackling my fears, we will need to be in town this fall – lacrosse for Michelle, cheerleading for Stephanie and we all need to get back to church. 

I’m finding that you can’t out run grief.  It’ll catch you.  It’s faster, more powerful, more cunning than you’ll ever be. 

I’ll sit this weekend on the porch where Lisa and I read the Saturday paper.  I’ll glance through my year-long journal and maybe look at some happy pictures.  I’ll ache a bit.  Maybe it will bring me closer to healing.  And maybe September will be better.

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16 Comments

  1. Faye Humphrey

     /  August 31, 2011

    Oh how I hope it gets better for all of you Bruce. You are strong. With God’s help you will survive. I will be praying for you.

    Faye

    Reply
  2. Sending so much love and hope to you, Bruce. It’s so hard for many of us to ever understand. I miss my sweet Lisa, too. Cry, laugh and live outloud just as you are – you’re doing great, even if/when you don’t feel like it. You are wonderful and loved very, very much. -Shelly

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 31, 2011

      I miss you Shelly. I am coming to Charlotte at some point this year and plan to drop by your house.

      Reply
  3. Amy

     /  August 31, 2011

    Brighter days are surely ahead (be sure and read Ed’s piece in First Press this week). Let us know if you want some company on the porch this weekend — we’ll bring wine! Hugs to each of you.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 31, 2011

      can we paint too?

      Reply
      • April

         /  September 1, 2011

        That would be great! You are all so talented! Just so you laugh and dance and remember. Remembering is the very most important part. I have a young grandchild that keeps her grief locked inside no matter how her mom and dad try to talk with her. Being able to talk about our love of one we’ve lost is so necessary. It’s a way of keeping our love alive as we move on in this world.
        April

  4. Gail Carnagua

     /  August 31, 2011

    As you sit on the porch, all your friends and family will be praying for “sunshine memories” of Lisa to fill your mind and soul. Prayers continue…..Gail

    Reply
  5. Peggy sykes

     /  August 31, 2011

    We would love for you to come rock with us on our porch if you get lonesome on yours!!!! We will have every football game on that Kenneth can find on TV. There is probably a cold beer in the frig too. Thanks for letting us walk with you.
    Love Kenneth and Peggy

    Reply
  6. April

     /  August 31, 2011

    You can’t outrun or hide from the grief but the happy memories and the beautiful pictures help a lot. Tell the girls the happy stories – they keep them in our hearts and are a salve for the pain.
    April

    Reply
  7. Wren

     /  August 31, 2011

    If you sit still, trust that you are strong enough to find the joy that awaits you and know that God will help you “walk and not faint.” For many of us, there will never be a Labor Day that passes when we don’t think of Lisa and her devastating diagnosis. We count the years, replay private conversations with her and hold onto any & all of the memories we have of her. We are here – sans Grayson – and would love to see you. So much to say, but for now ~ “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) Try hard and do not to “let your heart be troubled” ~ deliberately calm yourself in your agony & devastation. “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). Bruce, “may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16) XX, w

    Reply
  8. Susan Disher

     /  September 1, 2011

    Bruce…I read your blog that was brought to me by sweet Anna Lee Harris. I shared a meal with you and Lisa and your beautiful daughters at Wade and Anna’s rehearsal dinner and my husband was the “marrying” preacher at their wedding at St. Marks.

    Bob and I lost (I always have trouble with that word “lost”…Robby had been found by Christ and wasn’t lost) our 28 yr old son almost 6 years ago…so grief and me have been tight…not a desired relationship but one that keeps nipping at my heels.

    I understand your words about grief…we can’t outrun it and I have come to appreciate it…although its timing stinks…I would rather be able to choose when I deal with my grief but God has a better plan and every time I walk away from a battle with grief I see that I walk a way a little stronger but most importantly I walk away with a little more peace in my heart…I keep my grief on the highest shelve in the closet of my heart but God seems to know when it needs to tumble down and open up and spew out the hurt…just so He can step down and hold me…and love me…and remind me that He has always been there…never leaving…

    All that I have read in your blog has been grace to me…we are fellow travelers on a difficult road…and it is one that everyone has to travel…3 years after Robby’s death our daughter and son-in-law gave birth to a little boy who they knew would not live very long on this earth…watching my daughter start that journey I would have given anything to take her place and carry that burden…but God is good…all the time…and I have traveled it with her and she has known a depth of God’s love that she had no idea she would discover.

    Thanks for the blog…you are doing everything right and true and I imagine just as Lisa would have you to do…I pray for your family often and admire your transparency in your writing…so many people are watching people like us…wondering “how do they do this?” and “how would I do this?” Your life with your girls and Uncle Jesse is a tribute to your faith and your love of Lisa.

    Susan Disher

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 1, 2011

      Susan, thank you for your comments. You nailed my feelings on the head – just sounds like you’re a little ahead of me. Thank you.

      Reply
  9. Mary

     /  September 15, 2011

    One of my favorite quotes is an African proverb that says “You can outdistance that which is running after you. You cannot out distance that which is running inside of you.”

    In spite of all the running, I hope this fall improves and that you continue to find–and share–the beauty of your life. Both before and after cancer.

    Reply

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