Home » Cancer » Sometimes I Think I Am the Cliff

Sometimes I Think I Am the Cliff

I forgot my cane.

Don’t you hate it when you get somewhere and you realize you’ve forgotten something. I think, in my head, I thought I wouldn’t need it. Really, it’s a positive thing.

It’s hard to walk without it. I feel as if I might tip over. It’s more for balance than anything. So here I am in downtown Orinda sitting under a very lovely tree but sort of, kind of, unable to walk around.

This is a nice town, Orinda. I’m on a real live vacation. Even if I just sit a lot. But sitting? It’s not something I’m given to. The hardest part of my sickness has been being locked into a position of weakness. Mobility is strength and sitting is so anticlimactic. I can only observe.

So here I sit and wonder. Who am I? What a question to ask, so late in life. It’s something I’ve asked more often since…well, that day. January 11th.

I sometimes think that I am what I observe. ‘I observe myself observing what I observe.’ Nothing more. Is it so bad?

Sometimes I think I am like a rock that has chipped off of the cliff wall that is my mother. A scattered fragment, that’s what we all are, her sons and daughters.

So I sit here, lame, broken pieces badly put together. Not enough glue or not the right kind. Pieces of me, sitting there waiting to be put back in the correct spot. The correct way. Observing my failures, my triumphs. Some days it feels right and other days…I am just a piece of something that has more meaning than I can see. At least right now.

I’m like a deadly progression that has become more of a parade. More or less. So I sit here under this tree with my aching feet and my clinging to a cliff face balance, trying to fit myself back in. Join the parade. Stop the deadly progression. Wave a flag, but not that kind of flag. The kind that’s red. Not the kind that signals danger. No, my flag is just a flag. It says ‘I’m here. Come back, don’t leave me. Wait for me. I’m coming, too.’

I’m like the bull. I don’t know why I charge. I don’t. I just do it. I’m charging at everything that scares me. Even if its a leaf, a cloud, the moon…things that shouldn’t scare me. But I don’t want to miss them. If I go, will I miss them? Will I know? When will the fear stop? When will I know? It’s okay to sit. It’s not my last summer. It’s not my last anything.

That’s what I say to myself.

I’m am the cliff face now. I am the cliff. I cannot be broken, not completely broken.



10 thoughts on “Sometimes I Think I Am the Cliff

    • Is it bravery when you don’t have a choice? I’ve learned to recognize bravery in other people and I just pretend-which is good enough. The bravery of my Mom is especially poignant as I can sometimes see her fear and she pretends to have none. Is that what bravery is? When you do what has to be done without shrieking and crying?


  1. You are tough and this experience will remind you that toughness isn’t all about physicality. It’s about the mental and the emotional, too. Let’s call it grit. You are tougher than you think. And these tough times are polishing the diamond, not chipping you apart. Look at how much you’ve already handled! You are amazing.


    • Mental toughness is much harder isn’t it? It is something I’ve admired about you. Emotionally, I feel vulnerable but I’ve always had practice with that. And, really? I don’t care if someone sees me crying anymore. Lately I’ve had no cause to cry. Only tears of joy, but that was embarrassing.


      • Well, it’s a little babyish! But seeing those catamarans just brought me to tears. I was so happy to be there. Now, I am in Little Russia in San Francisco and totally, completely and happily lost. Found a Russian bakery that is amazing. I want to live in this bakery.


  2. Beautiful. The resting, and waiting, and “trying to get through this” is the hardest. You feel so powerless. I have the same reaction when people tell me how “brave” I am. I have no choice! It is what it is. We will get through this, Laura.


    • Indeed, for the first time I am thinking of something other than illness. I am in a wonderful city (with a cane but so what!) and I’m going to see the Legion of Honor. If I can find it.


  3. Laura, you cannot be broken. You are NOT broken at least not in spirit. You are brave and kind hearted. No one of that spirit is ever broken. Sending lots of love your way 😀


  4. “Life has been messy for me, as it has for most everyone. I have come to the realization that challenging experiences break us all at some point—our bodies and minds, our hearts and egos. When we put ourselves back together, we find that we are no longer perfectly straight, but rather bent and cracked. Yet it is through these cracks that our authenticity shines. It is by revealing these cracks that we can learn to see and be seen deeply.”
    ― Ping Fu


There is no sin except stupidity.

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