The Actual Dance is a play that presents the events of the year 2000 from the point of view of the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. From diagnosis to her life as a survivor, Susan Simon, my wife has endured. An unlikely survivor. The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. This the 4th year of my October daily blogs, my focus is a bit more on myself.
Day 29: When it Ends: “You have to understand the Dance does not end!” she said. “My husband died 9 months ago, and the Orchestra is still playing.” (Not from the play)
Her eyes filled with tears after the performance, the audience member in the summer of 1973 made the statement, it wasn’t a question. She spoke through her tears about her husband who had died from cancer 9 months earlier, and that she was still “dancing” with him in the ballroom she insisted.
Not all cancer stories have the happy ending Susan and I have enjoyed. It has been 18 years and even though I still anticipate the possibility of the “orchestra playing,” I do not and cannot know what it would have been like to lose Susan.
It is important to acknowledge that people will lose the one they love and the journey they face is different. I talk about fearing what it would be like in the play. “I walk around the house these mornings wondering what it will be like ‘being alone’” is the line in the play.
What I have learned from countless discussions including with Rabbi Nancy Wiener of Hebrew Union College is that people who are grieving are looking for a time when they might be whole again. It takes time and it often requires help. What is true in my experience is that one is never “healed”, the deep chasm of the loss love never fills. Rather we just learn how to be whole in the world again, just differently.
Stat of the Day: The National Cancer Institute projects 609,640 people will die from cancer in the US in 2018.
Task of the Day: Create and/or go through the checklist of things that are necessary if death is a possibility on the horizon for you or someone you know. Medical directive up to-date, Power of Attorney (They often expire after 10 years), and you will. Check it out. Also, The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has a great resource called “Dying Well – The Final Stage of Survivorship”
Resource of the Day: There are resources when you lose the person you love most in the world. Here and here are web sites with good resources.
The Actual Dance: Performances Donate