Duct cleaning


I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t kept up with my crying.

I haven’t taken a moment to make my scrunched-up crying face, the one with the heaving chest and quivering shoulders. The one where it looks like I’m having a baby in reverse.

I’ve always been a big crier. Terms of Endearment sent me out of the theatre with a wet face and an embarrassed date. To Kill A Mockingbird had the same effect. It’s a wonder I never cried about running out of dates.

Before my diagnosis, I cried at manipulative, uplifting commercials for things like Mother’s Day and pet insurance. Since my diagnosis, I cry at commercials for more competitive monthly data plans.

For obvious reasons, nothing makes me tear up like a father-son moment on TV. If a curly-headed six year old throws a wobbly football into the air, I’m weeping before his khaki-wearing dad can catch it. In Game of Thrones, when Tyrion fired an arrow into his father, who was sitting on the crapper, I thought they made a beautiful connection. It reminded me of a similar moment years earlier on the Cosby Show.

I often cry after playing with Will. We start out laughing, and just when the moment couldn’t get any better, I wonder how many of these we have left, and have to turn my reddening face away from him.

That’s okay.

Few things feel as cleansing as a short, sharp cry. Like a deep tissue massage, it hurts, and then feels good. I like the sharp ache that starts in my chest, rises warm into my face and leaves a prickly sensation in my nose. And then the sadness slips away, as if shaken in an emotional etch-a-sketch. I’m often left with a better perspective on life, death and data plans.

I recommend a good cry to anyone. You don’t have to have Stage 4 cancer (but it helps). Acknowledge your sadness; you may not be that sad after all.


One thought on “Duct cleaning

  1. Mike, I just read your blog via Donna (formerly CBC) on Facebook. This is Shelly Brown, I was reporter-anchor with Global TV in Regina, you were the crime reporter with the Leader Post. You are a gifted, vivid, colorful writer, I was with you every step of the way-reading your health journey. I feel the love you feel for your wife and son. If the measure of a man and his success lies in love, then my friend, you are wealthy beyond belief. I just lost my Mum to cancer, my Dad lost his battle 17-years ago. You are correct in saying, cancer is the diagnosis, it does not define who you are. You are an inspiration for every category in your life. Tom and I and the kids moved to Toronto 10 years ago. Watching your character evolve on Corner Gas, made me a little less homesick for my beloved prairies, thank you for that, and for making me laugh so hard, my sides hurt. Thank you for being simply you, a funny, helpful, intelligent, driven man. You have always, like the poet Robert Frost penned, taken the road less travelled, and that has made all the difference. God Bless you and your family Mike. We are rooting for you.

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