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A Trip Outside the Castle Walls


We, she and I collectively, are the proud owners of a castle with a deep moat and no drawbridge.

We, she and I, live inside this castle as we’ve been forced into doing most of 2011. Inside these monumental walls is where we survived attack after attack of a savage  enemy, an enemy that never revealed its purpose except for Carole’s slow and painful demise.

These walls helped me protect her when she was too tired or weak to fight. These are the very walls I stood on when I thought I was too tired or weak to fight, yet somehow we repulsed a mortal siege certainly sent from the very bowels of hell. I was not alone on these walls, I had the doctors of Stanford – and their magic. Surely as I sit here in the quiet of a house formerly embattled it was their magic that saved her, saved us.

Their magic seems to know no fatigue, no weakness, no compromise. Their magic on any other day would be called ‘medicine’ but today we call it by it’s proper name – ‘blessing’.

The Stanford blessing saved my wife’s life. In my soul, I realize that wars have been fought for so much less and I am humbled by their decision to fight by my side.

But this victory was earned at a terrible cost.  Legs, hearts and eyes that used to work so effortlessly before are now compromised, or lost completely.

And somehow, it’s OK.

Somehow, like the residents of London after WW2, we will rebuild. We will re-consecrate the important landmarks and discard that which in this new world has little or no value.  This battle to the death has been to put it  simply,  life changing. We embrace only life from here on.

Tomorrow we visit Stanford, the castle of the magicians, but for only for a brief time.

Only enough time for a quick x-ray and the removal of stitches from her last surgery. We will not wait for unnerving news, nor will we stay the night. We are there to acknowledge the scars of battle but not the enemy that caused them. The enemy is vanquished, the enemy has retreated for as far as the magicians can see, which is far more than we can.

Tomorrow we visit, we pass through, we say ‘thank you’ and turn for the security of home, a place we’re both still getting used to. No magicians will follow us, no doctors will call. We are on our own for a few months. These are the months we dreamed of once upon a time, these are the months that we consider gifts from a confounding but still merciful God.  These are the days of wine and roses, the days where dreaming is no longer considered just an optimistic endeavor. These are the days that we hope will blend together and become ‘just another day’ to us as our days of suffering were so long ago.

To victors go the spoils. These coming hours are the spoils from having defeated an insidious and cowardly enemy, a disease that still claims more than its fair share of precious hours from innocent  bodies and souls.

We may not have been able to say ‘thanks’ at Thanksgiving, but we certainly understand the concept of a new birth at Christmas.

Perhaps by then a drawbridge will be added to the walls that served us so well.

Perhaps by then we will believe the battle is over.

Perhaps by then we can appreciate the quiet that survival has earned us.

Perhaps by them we will finally be at peace.









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