Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Comic Lessons

Bear with me on this one. I am writing out something that has been brewing in my mind and heart. I am struggling with putting it into words. Words that make sense. Words that aren't insane.

All the tools that I have used to fight cancer; advocate for autism and care for myself and my family, I have learned from cartoons.

We have been reading comics books lately. My son loves them. They are the ultimate for him - a combination of colorful pictures, words and stories. I remember reading them as a child. I loved them for the same reasons. Granted, I read Richie Rich, Casper and The Archies. He is reading Mickey Mouse and Jimmy Neutron.

I started thinking about the tools I have needed to survive this journey. Emotional, spiritual and physical tools that you need to make the right decisions - as well as to just survive. Here is the beginning of my list.

Number One - Don't take it. Remember when Whiley Coyote would shoot off the Acme rocket at Roadrunner? He would shoot it and the rocket would fall on him. Flattened coyote. Next thing you see is Whiley rolling a boulder to drop on roadrunner.

Most of the time I feel that boulder has dropped on me. To toot my own sad horn - my son has autism, lost my mother and now cancer. Poor me.

But I need to be the coyote. Not the cute roadrunner (who I adore by the way.) I need to keep on plugging away, ordering from Acme, wait for the plan to fail, hope it doesn't and then research and plan the next attack when it does fail.

That coyote is my hero.

Number Two - Friends matter. Mickey Mouse doesn't stand alone. He is surrounded by Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and more. He never does it alone. He has help - friends who step in lend a hand. That canny mouse is not afraid to ask for help - or lend a hand either. Minnie is in trouble - Mickey just steps in and helps with a word. Goofy falls off the ladder. Who is there with a bandaid, Mickey! Mickey's kitchen is ruined from making dinner - his friends pitch in to clean up. Then they celebrate!

Without a word my neighbors and friends stepped in with meals, car rides, house cleaning and Christmas shopping. I did not know how many friends I had until the cancer. To this moment, I tear up when I think of all the incredible kindnesses.

Number Three - Forgive. Donald and Daffy always get the short end. They get stepped on, paint falls on them, hammer hits their thumb, pushed into the frozen pond and on and on and on. Then they get yelled at for not doing - well, whatever - by their friends and girlfriends. At the end of the story, they forgive the trespesser (usually Chip and Dale or Bugs) and all is forgiven.

There were many medical bloops, oops and sorry I shouldn't haves at the beginning of this journey - and I am sure that will continue - that I need to forgive. Carrying on the burdon of "If Only" is tiring and soul draining. I forgive.

Number Four - Laughter cures all. Comics are universal. Reaching back to the caveman and his first five legged horse on the cave wall. To laugh is a release of tension and experience of pure joy.

In this battle, there are not enough moments of pure joy. I relish, cherish and celebrate each and every one.

Number Five - We are all human. Even the mice, ducks, rabbits, cats and dogs. In comics we are all the same experiencing the same joys and pains of life. Their experiences mirror my own in a bizarro fashion. That takes the edge off my own life. And adds humor.

For me it goes beyond the humor. To see moments of your life documented in a comic is to connect to humanity. A popular newspaper comic has occasionally chronicled a fictional young woman facing breast cancer. Her moments are similiar to mine. I do not the author but for him to document those aha's and chuckles to a national audience tells me I am not alone.

That's all I have for now. I may add to this list. I may expand on it. I may write a book about it - or least an article.

That's All Folks.


Lisa said...

I love this post. It goes right along with Everythign I need to know I learned in kindergarten.

Good Luck

ams said...

I love that book! Especially the part about naps . . .