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Cancer: A Life of Rebirth and Hope

Posted Apr 18 2010 7:27pm

©Brenda Ray Coffee. All rights reserved.

The spring rains have blessed us with an abundance of wildflowers this year. They are everywhere, scattered along the roads and hillsides and nestled among the nopales--the prickly pear cactus. The Texas bluebonnets, Indian paint, Mexican hat and evening primrose are signs of rebirth and renewal. These earthbound bouquets remind me of the spring my chemo came to an end.

Every day for a month, I had willed myself to drive the 45 minutes to where Eduardo and Miguel were hard at work, restoring the old ranch hand bunkhouse we affectionately call the Little House. Nature’s spring carpet paved my way, giving me energy, blossom by beautiful blossom, freeing me from a body tired from cancer and chemo. Seconds after leaving the freeway, the traffic faded away, replaced by Axis and Whitetail deer, Texas Longhorns and the daily progress on the neighbor’s new house down the way.

Our road twists and turns skyward, cutting through layers of time warped by billions of years of unseen forces. James and I are blessed to be temporary stewards of this beautiful land once frequented by Comanches, dotted with stagecoach stops and home to over a century of hard-working ranchers.

That spring, everyday when I got to the ranch, Eduardo and Miguel would be sanding and scraping away all evidence of the ranch hand families who’d occupied our 484-square-foot house. I wondered how many people had lived in this small space? It is a joyous home, flooded with sunshine and a gentle breeze. I like to think babies were conceived and born here; women baked pies and hung laundry while their men cleared cedar and raised cattle. Their lives were simple, but good. I prayed we would be as lucky. The promise of the life we could have here mended my soul. It gave me the hope I was cancer free with years to linger and laugh and give thanks for another spring.

For now, we have made this tiny 100-year-old house our home. It nourishes our soul and fills our spirit. The pine floors and limestone fireplace comfort us. Our house is shaded by Post Oaks that flicker shadows across the old tin roof: a patina of rust and yellow, mingled with patches of silver and gray. At night we listen to the elk bugle on a neighbor’s ranch and take solace in this respite of calm; we revel in the new directions our lives have taken.

Once again, God had blessed us with another spring of rebirth and the hope that each of you finds solid footing on your journey through cancer.
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