Fall of last year I had stage 4 cancer—but I didn’t know it yet. I’d seen several doctors who persisted that this was regular back pain. “We’ve seen a lot of this in 2020, people sitting more than normal. You’re one of many facing the same issue.”
Yet, the pain seemed anything but normal. If I could describe turning into a zombie, this pain would be it. Frustrated and a bit disheartened from my last visit to the doctor, I finished my remote work and went outside to watch the kids play.
I stretched my hurt leg, and raved over how well my kids could scooter and skateboard.
That’s when it happened—out of nowhere a massive grasshopper jumped right next to me on the porch steps!
I have a healthy respect for big bugs. For example, if I see a small spider I can kill it. But if it’s a tarantula—I’m not about to use a thin toilet paper barrier to feel it burst beneath my fingers. Gross, right?!
So, the lord of all grasshoppers eyed me with his beautiful emerald eyes, turned to watch my children, and sat like a dog! He was so regal...so perfectly majestic sitting there, shining in all his glory like an expensive knickknack. And I was completely captivated. In fact, I didn’t move because this massive creature was fascinating! After about five minutes, my son suddenly jogged over, jolted up the stairs, and ran inside to get some water.
I let out a muffled cry. Next to me twitched the beautiful, SLIGHTLY SQUASHED, bug! He’d lost a leg, and after a moment he tried standing, but simply turned in circles over and over on his side.
A woman must have heard me cry out because she ran over from the street. “Is everything okay? Are you all right?”
When I pointed to the spinner next to me she broke out laughing. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Is everything going okay?” a man yelled from the street.
What the hell was happening? Was our entire town out for a jog—in front of my house?
“You never would’ve made it on a farm,” she said. Then the woman turned away from me. “Hey, John. She’s fine. Just too innocent for this world.”
My brows transformed into an angry ‘V.’ Someone had used those same words about my oldest son, right before he died. “Too innocent.” Who were they to judge me anyway? At least I wasn’t wearing a sports bra and wedgie shorts in public!
Anyway, my youngest looked at the flailing grasshopper. “Wow, you really loved him? Didn’t you?” she whispered.
“He was just...so awesome. But now something is wrong with him.”
Just like I knew SOMETHING was wrong with me....
When my son resurfaced from the house, we tried to help “The King” stand, but he kept falling. “Oh, my gosh!” I quaked.
“We’re giving him multiple concussions! Mom, he’s gonna die!” my son said.
An old truck rumbled into the driveway. Mike jumped out, so happy to be off work. “What’s wrong?” His smile flatlined after seeing my concern.
“Ummm...it’s a bug.”
“But it isn’t just any bug. He’s broken now—like I know I am. You should’ve seen how kingly and majest—”
Mike kicked him into our flowerbed and then placed a rock on him! “And now he’s out of his misery.”
Mike and the kids went inside. Indy mouthed through the screen door, “I’m sorry, Mama.” Empathy...it must be genetic.
And I stayed on the steps.
You see, I innately knew a laborious, painful journey waited in my future. Only a few weeks later, a radiologist finally discovered the cancer. And my life changed forever. Multiple rounds of unending infusions, several series of radiation... We’re only five months in, and I’m already so exhausted beyond comprehension.
It sounds so arbitrary to remember the king of all grasshoppers, but it just shows how the little things stand out when we’re having a hard time.
Some people are dying to live healthy lives while other people start livin’ when they’re dyin’.