Wednesday will be the first anniversary of Dan’s death. One year will be a kind of fence, I think, between trying to forget and trying to remember.

The hard part is how to remember the man and forget the cancer. I don’t really know how to do either one. Cancer is a living thing, one that has a chilling presence that hangs around long after it kills its host. I can’t forget it, but I’d like to dismiss it. The dead disease needs to move out of our house.

Remembering the man is almost harder. Memory isn’t fantasy. Memory comes with all the lumps included, or it isn’t memory at all. It doesn’t come naturally to ask for more lumps.

After Dan died we made up a photo booklet for the memorial service, but since then I’ve kept it packed away. Now it will come out, and take its place at a central place in a sunny room, with the box of ashes, one of those big candles that comes in a glass jar, and whatever else pops into my silly little head. This memorial will become a beautiful and prominent part of our home.

On the other side of the fence, maybe I won’t shut down whenever somebody talks about diseases and survivors and people’s insides. And maybe my own insides can begin to thaw out.


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