Family, Myself, Preeti

An Apology (sort of)

a Sadhu in Vârânasî, India.
Image via Wikipedia


by Jemal Yarbrough


Yesterday was an amazing day.  Full of laughter and a collective sigh of relief as we watched her eat a full meal after many weeks, and actually looking like herself.  It was also the sharing of an important moment, breaking bread with my in-laws as well as my new brothers, and for the first time since her surgery, we were in this together.  The talk flew quickly, the laughter even quicker and I never felt alone, the reinforcements were here!  Our support group got larger, and we finally had begun the healing process together.  The day went smoothly and for the first time I had nothing to complain about, but in fact was full of praise for every single person involved and there were several.  There was my mother in well  as well as brother-in-law, his girlfriend, several friends, along with numerous texts, calls and visits from others.   Every single person taking time out of their lives and heart to share with her as well as me .

I fell in love with her all over again while starting new relationships with others.  No longer am I intimidated with this disease especially chemotherapy, and no longer does it seem that it is never-ending (because it’s only 2 more weeks of chemo to go).  I am not ashamed to admit that I over-reacted, neither am I shy to admit that all of my recent blogs have been about myself as I try to make sense of what’s going on with me.  In that attempt, I managed to hurt several people, and to them I say I am extremely sorry.   To some, it may seem like glory seeking for me to blog about the disease and point out what others are doing or not doing.  It really isn’t about them.  It’s about me.  I realize though that I have certain responsibilities in every relationship, so the fact I am just blogging or expressing my feelings does not diminish the fact that I am doing it publicly.  In a nutshell, if I can’t be nice perhaps I shouldn’t say it.  Ok, I almost said that with a straight face.  No, no I need to be better because not writing for me would be like not breathing.  So what I mean to say is that I need to get better, appreciate more, love more, thank more, smile more, work more, work out more.  After all, I am almost 40 (39 in less than a week) so I need to grow up.  I need to finally accept that life goes on, and I need to as well.  As a dear friend quoted The Tao of Pooh, I need to become a pebble in the stream, and another encourages me to be more thankful, I realize now that God has been sending hints throughout this ordeal, HE hasn’t left me alone, I am not alone.  I have others I can trust with my life including my new family.  And for that, I cannot be grateful enough.

When we first heard about what was going on with her, I never felt more alone and overwhelmed, and that feeling continued because I had convinced myself that it was my punishment for my behavior in the past.  I lost sight of the fact that we are truly loved by others because some hurt us so deeply that we only thrived in that pain.  Isn’t it funny what kind of creatures we are?  We may have everything in the world, yet the moment someone or something makes us feel less deserving, we immediately seize upon that not seeing the 99% of goodness we do have in our loves.

Hard to believe that one good night made me realize this but it isn’t one good night, we have been building towards this. I just had to allow myself to enjoy it and accept help.  I was alone because I had made it that way. When I think of the texts and calls offering to help, I cringe in shame because my stupid pride that made me say no.  I became blind to the outside world just wallowing in self-pity.  I drowned myself in self-doubt and loathing, lost sight of what’s real and what is not. In a word, I was a bitch.  An emotionally unstable whiner.  A loner.  I probably almost all the right ingredients to consider becoming a Sadhu, but even there I would have failed because the first lesson in any recovery is acknowledgment of who you are.  So yes I am a bitch.  I need to slap myself silly for the last few blog posts just because they were very mean, uncalled for and generally below my character.  Ok, but one small thing: it was pretty riveting writing, you gotta give me that, but then it hits me that I am feeding into people’s voyeuristic site and not really adding anything of value so minus that one point (doh!).

I know I need to end this tirade yet I can’t seem to let go of the feeling of fullness and goodness in my heart thanks to so many people.  I am not gonna lie, I am still irked at some but really that’s a minor issue, and I need to make those people minor as well.  I have built up some so loftily that any small misstep by them causes a turbulence in my soul, so like a pebble in a stream, I let it flow through me, and drown myself in her beautiful, beautiful smile  At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.  Except for me as well, duh!  Come on now, you should know by now its always about me 🙂


Brownness, Myself, Preeti

Save Me

by Jemal Yarbrough

Surrounded by books like You are What You Eat to What to Eat Before, During and After Cancer Treatment, it hits me that Cancer has given me a life I thought impossible.  Scattered on the bed are various notes and business cards from the dozens we have consulted in the medical field but still we do not and cannot know enough.  We are still ignorant as to what is about to come, and in some ways you could say in denial. Shoved aside to the side are the many Christmas presents we bought for our families and friends, but they lay ignored and unwrapped in another room, waiting perhaps for one of my relatives to take pity and finally put then in beautiful wrapping paper. It would appear from all of this that emptiness resides in our lives, but you would be dead wrong.


Along with the horrible, Cancer also gave me the improbable:  a wonderful wife.  I hadn’t dared to dream that the beautiful person who affected my life and soul would now be my life partner.  Strange, how the proliferation of some body cells can melt away 4 years of “hell no’s” and resistance to the idea of us getting married.  Funny, how I can be accepted into a household where my name couldn’t even be mentioned, and break bread.  You would think I would be filled with resentment or, worse, anger, but neither has a place in my heart.  I will not and cannot allow the past to corrupt my present and future.  As if by magic, I have allowed the cancer of peace and acceptance to fill our families rather than use it to destroy what’s left.  There is only room for love and forgiveness.  In a matter of days, we are going to be tied to each other for life, officially that is.  I had accepted her in my life a long time ago, something I wish I had told her a while ago.  I cannot bear the thought that she thinks it’s because of Cancer but only because it’s is true on the surface.  But she needs to know what I mean: Cancer gave me the courage to talk to her family.  I finally did what I have not been able to put my foot down and rightfully claim what’s mine.


There are some who would not see this as any victory, and some may even opine that now that’s sick her family agreed just to save face.  I would counter that even if that’s true, the victory is still mine.  I have her, and in the end that’s all that matters.  They say people come into your life for a reason or a season perhaps even to teach a lesson.  Preeti is all of the above, she makes the person I want to be, the person I see myself to be. I know the road ahead is potted with long hours, and perhaps fights and definite exhaustion but Cancer needs to know it has fucked with the wrong people.  It obviously doesn’t know her anger or my strength.  Together, we are unbeatable.  You have been warned, Cancer.


Journal, Myself, Preeti, Writing

Cancer of Words: A Blog Post

Cyclops projecting an optic blast. Art by Jack...
Image via Wikipedia

The words just sit there.  The guilt sits behind them.  Yet nothing moves.  I plead with the clock to slow down, to let me gather whatever’s lying around so I do not feel like a fraud.  Yet nothing comes.  It is as if I am spent from fighting the cancer in my beloved, and while the movie reel in my head sputters along, the projection screen is blank.

I can’t stop thinking of writing, and seeing every conversation as potential dialogue.  It’s as if my body is become one huge receptacle for ideas and possible stories.  Yet I want it to stop.  I feel like Scott Summers from the Xmen, unless I put some glasses on, I can’t stop the lasers from destroying the world near m me.

Just stop, I beg regretting ever having starting this muse yet it grows just like the enemy in my love.  Her body betrayed her and now I feel like my mind is doing the same.  The words keep growing and I pray they don’t spread to my hands because I need the energy and the strength to by her side. 

I want nothing except for her.  She is my life. Without her, I am just another person, but together we become one unit that can take on the world.  But we have been let down by our bodies, hers turning against her and making her wonder what she did to deserve this and mine seeing everything as a reason to write. 

But both of us are wrong.  All we is the present and blame worry sadness don’t belong because the reality is we will both survive, one as a writer and one as former cancer patient.  That is our new reality.  It doesn’t take anything away from us, it just has made us a thousand times stronger. 

While we will kill one cancer, we will allow another one to spread so it can kill the doubts worries and sadness in others.  In hindsight, maybe being an X Man, isn’t such a bad thing.