The Dance

I'm home alone, my husband is deer hunting on the outer coast, something I encouraged him to do after he said he wouldn't be able to do the thing he loves most in all the world because he was still sore, and limping a little from that pelvis he broke in June, and he was not the same guy who did it last year-- and all the years before. Well, nobody is, so we make do. He's still in pretty great shape and getting stronger by the day. He smiled when he kissed me good-bye and said not to cash in the life insurance and go to Mexico until he's been overdue at least a month. 

So I'm standing around in the dark yesterday afternoon, noodling around on facebook on my phone, and I see a friend has sent me a clip from a Garth Brooks concert that made her cry. She has survived stage 4 lung cancer. She never smoked and has red hair and is a very positive, happy person. Not that it matters, but one hopes. There was that, and I'm a sucker for country songs.

So I clicked, and there was Garth Brooks singing that song about the dance, that asks the existential question about if it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, and answers yes. He's glad he didn't know then how it would all turn out, because if he had, he would have missed the great dance of life. It makes me cry when I hear it on the radio-- even when I'm the DJ who plays it.

But in this clip, he stops in the middle of a concert, in the middle of that tune, and walks out and hands his guitar to a woman who is holding up a sign that says something like: First chemo treatment for breast cancer today, now a Garth Brooks' concert tonight.  Then he gets back on stage and says he wishes her all the strength he has, and everyone in the huge arena has, and that she's going to "Kick cancer's ass."  And he means it. 

His mother and sister died from breast cancer, and the sign, and this woman there, and the song-- about knowing how it all ends and loving it all anyway-- well, he said, it all fit like a miracle.  

I was a puddle.

I mentioned this to a friend later who reminded me that stuff on Facebook is often faked and that he or his publicist (there's a new album out, I guess) could have staged the whole thing. True.

Even if this is all fiction, it is still true in the way that can make me cry, because I have lost a friend to breast cancer, had another three (at least) cured, and right now am glued to the Caring Bridge blog posts from a brilliant writer friend who may be saying goodbye thanks to stupid breast cancer. 

Seems like we don't waltz through life as much as we reel--  reaching a hand and clasping one, swinging partners, friends and lovers, children and old people, neighbors and strangers-- all the way the down the line as we sashay through this community hall called life, with our hearts up, feet on the floor,  a baby on one hip and a sore hitch in the other, -- sure we know how it ends, but we still keep dancing, because what's the alternative? To miss all this?



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