I know this is a bad time to argue the semantics of “challenge,” but today, even amidst worldwide chaos, I’m back five years ago, looking at a picture that reminds me how life changes on a dime.
I posted the video of Binny’s speech that he gave at the Team Lifeline Pasta Party on his Facebook page, but the sound quality was poor and people asked for copies of the speech. So with Binny’s permission, I am posting it here. I edited it a bit to include some of the lines he ad-libbed (though some I know I missed), but this is all his.
Everyone loves looking at the underside of the stingrays. They have those goofy grins. They look like they’re gently smiling at the world, happily floating along the water. But they always look like that. Their faces are frozen in place like Wybie in Coraline. They look like that all the time. After all, the stingray that killed Steve Irwin was also smiling.
Sometimes you need a lot of strength just to have a celebration. I’m not just talking about the strength to label 250 seating cards and design shirts and shlep boxes. I’m talking about the strength to decide to celebrate even when you sometimes don’t want to.
I glanced at my phone and watched as the date changed from May 6th to May 7th and realized, it’s four years later and I am in a hospital, waiting again.
I went back and forth between absolute calm to abject panic to crushing depression and then back to the warm blanket of denial.
I finally understood the myth of Sisyphus when my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago. And like the legend, we were faced with a huge mountain, a massive, incomprehensible rock, and a job that no one would ever sign up for.
It’s my birthday. The anniversary of when I showed up in this world and a nice reminder that I’m still here. Also a nice reminder that I’m older and that much closer to not being here.
Dr. Bhatia was a masterful, talented surgeon, a man who understood that removing a little boy’s splinter was just as important as removing the tumor that was in his brain.
Somewhere between closing the metaphorical door of any traumatic situation and getting sucked into the constant vortex of pain and victimhood, there’s a middle place of relative contentment. Of just understanding that it is what it is.