The Emotional Crowded Houses
Three other stories about St James in the book “The Tilted Kilt”
This is from my book “Cancer Calls Collect”
Pushing the large doors open I felt rivers of emotions fill my inner soul. I shouldn’t be here I thought to myself, as I knew I was setting myself up. I sat in one of the pews, stared at the stained glass windows, and tried to hold back my tears. People were going to wonder why I was back in town so soon, and I had yet to tell anyone what was really going on. For days I had spoke of family emergencies and real estate deals to those that asked, but I kept the truth inside my heart. I knew he didn’t want the whole world to know his deadly secret, and I respected that.
I glanced through the hymn book and was thankful it wasn’t Sunday with organ music attempting to pull more tears out of me than what I was presently trying to hide. Not wanting anyone to see the distress I was in I kept to myself, and looked at no one. I knew the time was coming when I would have to release the inner sadness, but I just didn’t want it to be today.
As people came in they stared at me, and I had a feeling some knew my secret but were too kind to ask. Time seemed to move by at a snails pace, and I kept lowering my head so no one would see my tear-stained face. Taking deep breaths didn’t help, and I wanted to sob for a very long time. When I finally pulled myself together it was time to meet and greet. Someone I had known for years asked me point blank why I was back. The world began to spin, and I could no longer hold it in and I looked at her and said quietly.
“He has stage 4 cancer.”
Arms curled around me as I cried, and they all enveloped me with a fog of love and compassion. An older woman slipped a small good luck stone from Ireland into my pocket and told me to keep it near always. As I put it in my pocket they said in unison,
“You’ve come to the right place!”
But had I? Could these people take away my fear and sadness and give him back his life? Where had they been during my other pivotal points of darkness? As I watched the last breath leave my sister’s body years ago I remembered having to ask everyone to leave to give her peace for her last moments. Yes, we need helping hands to aid us in our time of need, but in the end we have to learn to accept and deal with the inevitable all by ourselves because there will always be battles ahead.
“It doesn’t matter to me what you believe in- it’s what gets you by.”- Linda Seccaspina
Photo by Linda Seccaspina of St. James Anglican Church, Carleton Place, ON