Last August when I thought David’s cancer had returned, I didn’t know what I could do to help him. Watching a spouse fight cancer and seeing them go through torture to get rid of their cancer was not something I wanted to have to go through again. There was so little I could do the first time, except care for him. I was determined to do so again.
So I made soup.
The day after his doctor’s appointment when Dr. Alt told us he was 99% certain that the cancer had returned, I was in the kitchen making mass quantities of soup.
You see, I don’t experiment much with cooking, nor do I make elaborate meals anymore. I don’t really enjoy cooking for a family who would rather have a pizza or some frozen chicken nuggets. David, however, appreciates my home-cooked meals; the casseroles, the bananna bread, rhubarb crisp, the meat loaf or lasagna, and especially, the soups. Since his radiation treatments, with his throat being swollen and scarred, soup is the one food that goes down easy for him.
I knew that I was going to be there for him again during whatever came his way, but I still felt helpless in facing the specter of cancer with my spouse. Only he could fight it, only he would endure whatever they had to do to treat it. He would not be alone, but it is still a lone fight. So I did what I knew I could do; I made soup.
Our son Dan found me in the kitchen the day after that doctor’s appointment, where I was making not one, but two different kinds of soup, scooping single servings into plastic containers for the freezer. He didn’t have to ask me why I was making mass quantities of soup, he instinctively knew that this was my way of “dealing.” You see, Dan and I had been down this road once before; a team united in support of David. And I knew he would be there again for his Dad, and for me. The possibility of the cancer returning was a blow to all of us. We didn’t know what to do, but we knew we would do whatever it took to get David through it again.
And so I made soup.
When the doctor’s office called and told me that the biopsy was negative, I got to experience a feeling that must be like one feels when they win the lottery. I ran outside to cross the street and tell Dan the news. The air felt cooler, the sun brighter.
When I am having a bad day or feeling particularly grumpy, I can recall that day and immediately feel better.
That has been almost a year ago now, and I only recently took the last container of soup out of the freezer. When I served it to David, piping hot from the microwave and with the little oyster crackers he likes floating on top, I closed my eyes, kissed the top of his head, and thanked God that he is still here with me.
This morning there is a cool breeze coming in our windows and it feels like Fall.
I think today I will make soup.