My wife’s friend (Donna G) was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. She had a mastectomy, treatment, all that – and at this point all results point to a complete recovery.
This summer, at the pool, I got into a conversation with her, and it was one of the best conversations I’ve had in years. We talked all about the experience. She had an invulnerability about her that was tangible. I asked her question after question. She told me about breaking the news to her daughters. She told me about the procedure. I found myself soaking in every word. One thing she said stood out above all.
“When you get that diagnosis, when that earth shifts, suddenly everything is different.”
“Has it shifted back?” I asked.
“I hope it never does.”
I got thinking about that conversation and about that earth shift in particular. And to be honest, I’m jealous. Not of the cancer, of course, but of the perspective. I’m jealous of the forced prioritization. Of the clarity. Of the stillness that Donna possessed as she sat there speaking with me.
Donna G gave me a gift that day. She had gone through physical and emotional devastation and earned wisdom and strength in return for her suffering. And although I had gone through none of the pain, Donna gave me some of her hard-won treasure. She gave it without a second’s hesitation. It was one of the highlights of 2014 for me.
So here is the Donna G project. It is an initiative to fill the off-season that will be a gift to my boys next Christmas. Between now and Opening Day (April 6!), I’m going to write to my boys on the following subjects:
- About your mother
- About my mother
- Biggest moment of my life
- Recipe for Spiedies
- Recipe for “Mike Nuckols Yummy Wing Sauce”
- Recipe for the “Perfect Home Fries”
- On God and goodness
- On popularity
- On streaking
- The official rules for calling shotgun
- On fatherhood
- On baseball
As a final note, because these posts are so intensely self-indulgent and non-baseball related, I’m only going to leave them up for a few days. The audience is really my boys, anyhow. You readers are just getting caught in the crossfire.