by Terri Hess
Years ago when my husband and I were dating I purchased two coffee mugs; the kind that has your name on it and a description of what your name foretells and it was pretty accurate. People used to make fun of our corny coffee mugs but that’s okay. I didn’t purchase them to impress anyone.
We have had those mugs now for 25 years. They are crackled, worn and very faded and no longer usable.
In 2007 and into 2008 (and as of this writing, more surgeries in 2010 and 2011), I had a long battle with breast cancer – numerous surgeries; too many to count; chemo and radiation, more surgeries, infections. Pretending to be fearless and unafraid I forged onward with a smile and a joke. Or at least I tried until the demons took over. Underneath, only those closest to me and always there for me – my family – really knew I was cracking beneath the surface.
One morning, my husband Doug poured my coffee as he did every morning in my “Terri” cup. The cup could no longer take the heat. It finally cracked and broke. This was a sign to me. I lost it. I began to cry.
“Doug, what if I break? What if I die? This means something! I am broken! What if I can’t be fixed?” I was hysterical.
He just hugged me and calmed me down. He quickly left the room and went to the basement. He came back with some ceramic glue. I could see the tears in his eyes. He took that mug and told me he was going to fix that mug and that nothing was going to happen to me. I would be healed and cancer was not going to “break” me.
Doug feverishly fixed that cup with such determination.
He did the same with me with his care. The cup is not the same strength as it was before (kind of like me) and I can no longer drink from it but it still sits in our cupboard.
I am the same but I am slightly altered; a little cracked but not completely broken. “Glued” back together of sorts. I will never forget that day my husband tried to save my favorite coffee mug. It was a turning point for both of us and all we had been holding in.
And that mug – like Doug – will stay with me as long as I live.
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