I’m trying to find joy here. In the remnants of a record breaking winter, I will embrace almost anything nonthreatening, as joy. Like my dog that tiptoes to each of the last little islands of ice in the driveway, preferring to potty on leftover snow rather than contend with the mud. Rallying my brightest spirits, I carry Suki from one patch of icy snow to another, cheering her on, “Yes, Suki, you can do this.” And I scan the clouded sky wondering, where’s the joy?
Because it’s for sure not going to be joyful when all this snow melts. The huge avalanche slowly slipping off my roof, the high peaks plowed right and left along the length of the driveway, the packed-down path to the front door, … I mean, where is all this melting snow gonna go? Where else but flooding into the house? Thunderbeckon.
Thunderbeckon. THUNder-beck-n. The name tumbles in my head. I did not create this; it was in a book I read 20 years ago. Beneath the dark depths of some ocean there was a shipwreck or some deep-sea topographical protrusion that, in a storm, could dash a ship to shards. Thunderbeckon became the name for the cumulus cloud lumbering in my head during the journey with my daughter through the wilds of cancer. “Your cancer is my cancer,” I’d told Marika when my breath got stuck in my gut. Thunderbeckon meant Trouble. Major, big-time, high stakes Trouble.
“Everybody’s Got Something,” Robin Roberts, anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America, titled her memoir in which she tells about overcoming cancer and other challenges. Another anchorwoman, Erika Castillo of KFOX14, who I keep up with on Facebook, now gears up for her own fight. My list of chemo warriors grows. But as memories of cancer get farther from home, my own nightmares have shrunk in gravity.
These days I allow myself to get headaches over smaller stuff or over things that worry others: The smoke alarm going off at 4:30AM two nights in a row. Skunks in my garage. Snakes under the deck. The computer that keeps quitting on me. Friends’ daughters who have been sick or arrested or are leaving home for good. And then there’s my own son who is packing up his gear again. His duffel lies stuffed on the laundry room floor.
“Mom, I’m going to El Paso,” he says. “Remember the friends I stayed with last time? Well, Erika was diagnosed with cancer.”
What Thunderbeckons keep you awake nights?