Cancer is indiscriminate and stubborn and profoundly destructive. I have watched it break people down over many months or take their lives in a matter of hours, not even giving them a chance to fight. It has caused grief and fear that I believe only love can make bearable. I ride as a member of the 2019 Texas 4000 team to give my love.
I have struggled for almost five years to find the line between “moving forward”/”being strong” and really honoring people I've lost and loving people who are hurting. Cancer and loss are so present and standard in our lives, and sometimes I feel like my options are either to dwell on them totally or to numb myself and put them out of my mind altogether. I don’t know what is more heartbreaking: to be reminded of a person and drawn back into grief for them constantly throughout my life, or to realize I’ve trained my mind not to be reminded of them anymore. I don’t like either of those options.
I hope that by riding I can give my love constructively and in every form: as my time, energy, body, and mind. I hope that by giving my love like this I will remember that I don’t have to be numb to survive. I have been told there are times, when biking, that I will feel drained, exhausted, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable. I think of how much more defeating those things feel in the context of cancer, and I think of Samuel Beckett’s beautiful mantra: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” I want everyone who fights to go on to notice a small part of the burden they carry lifted by my team, in love, and to take comfort in knowing that we haven’t moved on but that we will go on with them.
I give my love to my dear friend whose father was taken by metastatic skin cancer only a few hours after he was diagnosed. I give my love to my Mam-Maw, who lost her well-fought battle with pancreatic cancer, and my Pop, who would have welcomed cancer into his own body if doing so would have spared his sweetheart. I give my love to my Papa, who beat lung cancer. I give my love to my teammates, and to everyone who is in pain because they have to go on without the people they love beside them.
I hope that love will help make the loss bearable for them. To feel and be able to give that love makes it bearable for me.