It Feels Like Fall

In high school, the St. Louis Post Dispatch interviewed me after receiving a leadership award.  When they asked me who my role model was, I told them: “a tree.”

I have always seen trees a perfect symbol for balance.  They change with the seasons and they give more than they take.

I haven’t written much since my first chemo.  It has left me in this thick fog.  Everything feels heavy.  I had this vision of being a fighter, of bravely and gracefully beating this cancer.  Yet, I feel like I’ve been benched.  Like I am on the sidelines trying to catch my breath.  I’ve been left wondering what it looks like to beat cancer — to fight.  Can you do it on your couch?  Can you do it with your head down on your desk, or leaning against the wall? It is not the fight I imagined.  There is no running, or sweating, or using your muscles.  Everything is too heavy.

I’ve decided that it feels like letting go.  It feels like fall.  Like I am that tree loosing all of my leaves.  Like I am preparing for a bitter winter with heavy winds, and even heavier snows.  It is not the fight I imagined.  There is such sorrow in this change.  A deep sadness that comes with suffering.  But strangely — it is a peaceful sadness.

I am losing my energy, and soon– I will lose my hair.

A naked tree in the moonlight.

Luckily, I also know about the promise of spring.  Your voices, and notes, and letters, and love –remind me.  Spring will find me.  And all that has been lost will be found.  And I will be green, and new in the sunlight.

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10 thoughts on “It Feels Like Fall

  1. Such words of beauty and truth. Your writing is wonderful. Yes, you are correct. Spring lies ahead of you. Be encouraged…..many will carry you ….and One will sustain you. I love the song/ verse from Isaiah 43 that says, “When you walk through the waters, I will be with you. The waves they will not overcome you. Do not fear… When you walk through the fire, I will be with you. The flames, they will not consume you. Do not fear…for I have redeemed you. I have called you my own, you are mine…..”

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  2. So sorry. Be kind and patient with yourself. What you are feeling is your body using the chemo to heal you. Your body is amazing. The chemo is working. Love you –

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  3. I wish you could feel the sunlight now and that this season passes by swiftly, bursting into the vibrant life of spring. I love you and cover you with prayers.

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  4. Melissa,
    Like a tree, you are deeply rooted, deeply grounded in family, friendship, love and life’s meaning. That rooted-ness will sustain you and you will eventually lift your arms like branches that soar into the blue, blue sky.

    Carrie Newcomer has a line in one of her songs, “Leaves don’t drop, they just let go/And make a space for seeds to grow.” Who knows what wonderful new things will sprout as a result of this letting go?

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  5. I am amazed at the poetry that lives within you, even in this season of life. You are God’s child, let him fight for you, so that you have energy for other things. Put your faith in His ability to see you through this. Rest in the love of friends and family.

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  6. Melissa – I have read all your blogs; they have provided an entryway into my heart. Thank you for allowing us to share this journey with you. I have added you to my prayers and have great hope! (friend of Michele Kelk)

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  7. The promise of spring is HOPE! We have all the hope you can imagine – hope that you will feel free and joyful soon.
    Trees are beautiful, I have always loved them too. As you reference, they are strong and present and always bloom again!

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  8. Hi Melissa,
    Becky (above ;), and Caroline Strong, told me about your blog. Girl, I am so sorry this has gripped you. I am so sorry for the physical, emotional, spiritual pain you must be going through. As I’ve been reading through your blog I’ve been amazed by your strength and the strength you pull from those who love you. The imagery of a tree is amazing. In college I once did a printmaking serious on trees and more specifically wintertime trees. They seem so bare, so empty, so lifeless, not as lovely (on the outside), not bearing the fruit they were created to make. But what I realized is the roots, the part of the tree not so visible, they are at their strongest. Burying deeper, growing new shoots, holding and sustaining the life of that tree that so that in the spring it comes back even stronger with more purpose and more beauty.
    I realize in the heart of your “wintertime” these words might not always be very comforting. But like Becky said, holding, gripping on to that hope is what can sustain us.
    Goodness, I will be thinking of you and your boys and your hubby. I will pray intentionally for daily strength and moment of joy and quiet laughter. I know we do not know each other on a deep level, but I’ve felt really fortunate to have crossed your path. From our short encounters I have seen your humor, your love for your boys and husband and life you share together. I know to be a working mom means your passionate about helping your students and making out your time. I trust you’ll kick this cancer in its arse and be running on the Mosaic relay team next spring. Take care, friend.
    Warmly,
    Amy Oliver
    Charlotte and Samuel ( and Mae’s mom)

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