Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth. — Kenko, 14th c. Buddhist monk and poet
The lightening started about 4am. Someone from our team had been continuously walking for 17 hours, and we were so close to the end – only 4 hours to go.
But it seemed too much – with fatigue, an absence of activity on the track, and the threat of storm – the decision was made to pack up. The tents came down, the coolers were drained, the trucks loaded. Relay for Life was over for us, and I was crying.
I don’t like to leave things incomplete – fights, jobs, lives – and to be honest, I felt a bit like I was giving up too easily on Mom. As I drove away, it seemed that she was rended from my heart again.
But then, after I slept and rested in her house for a few hours, I tried to find my way back to the joy I felt yesterday. Kenko laid it at my feet as a gift across 7 centuries – “Leaving something incomplete . . . gives us the feeling that there is room for growth.” We did leave Relay unfinished this year, just as – from our perspectives – Mom’s life was unfinished, too short, not closed out in the quietness of old age.
Next year though, when the 15 of us (these wonderful people are already talking about next year), we’ll come back to walk our full 22 hours. We’ll set a higher goal. We’ll recruit more members. We’ll beat back cancer a little more. Or maybe, just maybe, by then, these amazing researchers will have won this fight for us, and we will be able to say, in this at least, “It is finished.”
Until then, Koky, Woody, Lisa, Rob, Beth, Laurie, Jack, Dane, Ann, Katie, Jake, Karen, Joy, Zachary, Kinzie, Danny – Mom’s amazing Relay for Life team – will walk on each day, growing into the room before us. . . our work incomplete and sacred for that.
Thank you to all who supported us with words of encouragement, donations, and prayers; on that track, you were there with us. My biggest thanks, though, go to Mom’s team – Ruth Cumbo’s Crew – who did her proud and does so every day. Thank you. Thank you.