My bag was orange.
It was big and every trip to the cancer center, I filled it with magazines, newspapers and various snacks Leroy and I would devour by the time we were finished with our day of doctors, nurses and whatever appointments he had scheduled. I can’t imagine how many bottles of water we emptied over our many visits to Hopkins. Everything went into that orange bag.
And then there were the things you couldn’t see, that were also packed into every fold, every pocket, every empty space at the bottom of my orange bag. I’m talking about my thoughts, my worries, my nightmares that made those trips too. Each visit would bring some sort of news about his cancer. Some days were pretty good; a scan came back with news that a tumor was shrinking. Other days meant a risky procedure that would buy more time. And then there were the appointments that left us speechless on the drive home. Those were the days when my thoughts were zipped-up tightly inside my orange bag. Better to leave them in there, than share my worries or my tears.
I’m thinking about that big, heavy bag, because I saw a man carrying one, similar to mine at the cancer center today. I knew exactly what was inside. His was blue, the draw string was pulled tight, so nothing would spill out, at least not the magazines or the water bottle. But it was too late for the worries and the fear. They were already sketched into his face and his big sigh spoke volumes. He was facing another day in cancer world, where you need a big bag, with a lot of room for all those worries.