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How A Bunch of Teenage Boys Unexpectedly Cured My Sadness

Photo by Kim Harms

 I seldom fear cancer will come back.

I’ve read the stats, and I know that because I found my tumor early, my chances of another bout with it are very slim. And aside from the fact that I tend to write about cancerish things a lot, it’s a rare day that cancer thoughts overwhelm me.

But every once in a while I’m caught completely off guard by deep despairing sadness or unrelenting unsubstantiated fear.

Monday was one of those days.  

I found myself baking (what? I don’t  bake) and dripping tears in the cookie dough while Tim McGraw sang sweet songs to me via Spotify. (Hello name is Kim Harms, and I’m a country music fan.)

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Empty Swingsets

by KimHarms 0 Comments

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The swings were empty, and I was close to tears.  A wooden playset was about to make me cry.

It was ridiculous really. We only lived in the house for six months.

But I looked at the empty swingset while I stood in the empty house, and I thought of my three boys. Brothers who have this amazing propensity to find in each other the one nerve in a million that is most easily agitated and then patiently camp out on it until it causes the desired explosive reaction.

During the past six months I’d often find those same button-pushing boys sitting side-by-side on the red swing, the yellow swing, the blue swing. Pumping their legs and laughing as though they were BFFs. I would smile and go back to working on whatever happened to be on my to-do list that day.

But now the swingset was empty. And I realized they would never swing there again. And at 13, maybe Carter would never swing again period. And I was overcome. And I wanted to cry. And I felt so silly that some chains with little plastic seats could make me so sad.

And I left 809 Ashwood, like all the other houses we’ve moved out of, with a bittersweet feeling that comes at the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

That evening I sat down to relax with an old book and found that somehow, Betty Smith put on paper in 1948 feelings I couldn’t quite articulate in 2014.

“The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

And though I still felt a little silly about the sadness brought about by the swingset, I decided it was okay to let myself have a good cry.

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