The passenger

December 3rd, 2012 § 25 comments

A thermos of tomato soup sits in the cup holder.
Trees become a blur outside my window as we make our way across the Pike from Boston.
I take note of the wispy clouds in the azure sky.
Usually I can’t truly appreciate the view because I am the in the driver’s seat, focusing on the cars in front of me.
This Thanksgiving I am in the passenger seat.
I am the one handing items to our three children in the back.
I’ve given up a few things I am not so good at night now, things that take too much energy or cause pain.
I wear big sunglasses to shield me from the bright glare.

More than once on this trip they’ve hidden hot tears when a gentle song comes on the radio about love and missing someone you care about.

We talk about next year.
We talk about the trip we’ll make to see family again.
I nod, I say, “Of course.”
I do not protest.
But the voice inside my head wonders if they are pipe dreams, if I will actually be able to do that.
Cancer is in the driver’s seat on this trip.
But I hope it won’t be for long.

§ 25 Responses to The passenger"

  • Such a poetic, poignant post.

  • kelly says:

    I hope so, too. xoxo

  • I send you the love of friends you haven’t met, and the strength of their souls.

  • sarahbutten says:

    Gorgeous and brave. Describe your writing. Describe you.

  • Lisa, this is so vulnerable and so beautifully written. I wish beyond all wishes I could take some of your pain away. Knowing I can’t, all I can offer you is my friendship, love and support. Always!

  • makes me want to cry just reading it. None of us can really know where we’ll be a year from now. Cancer is yet another reminder of that. Wish I could take away some of your pain, and theirs too.

  • Pam says:


  • Melissa Crytzer Fry says:

    I second Molly’s comment above, Lisa. I couldn’t say it any more eloquently than she has.

  • Anonymous says:

    What molly campbell said. I’ve never met you, but am deeply moved by what you are dealing with. I choke on the trite phrase “thanks for sharing,” but I am so grateful that you do. Comfort and peace to you.

  • s.a.meade says:

    Once again, you’ve put something so difficult to stare in the face, into perspective. I love your posts. I hope you’re around for a long, long time to write more.

  • Emily says:

    Lisa, sad that you have to face these awful possibilities. I wish the best to you and your family. Please keep writing if you can.

    — Emily

  • BG says:

    Rebecca is right. None of us can know where we will be a year from now…or a day or a month from now. I join everyone moved by your honest essay in wishing you many, many moments and years.

  • aswinn says:

    I keep typing words of support and deleting them because I know there’s nothing more to be said and there’s no right way to say any of it anyway. But I wanted to say something. So I am sending you lots of love and good wishes and thinking of you always. xoxo

  • Jennifer says:

    What Allison said. You are so loved.

  • Lisa,
    Your words are beautiful and so very real. Please know that I am not trying to compare, as I was dx with stage 2B, so there really isn’t any comparison, but I do remember thinking the same thoughts, having the same doubts, and sharing the same fears. I truly didn’t believe that I would make it through the challenging treatment. Please keep sharing and we will keep praying. There are some miracle stories out there and there is NO reason to believe, you aren’t going to be one of them. There was a gal in my home town who was dx with stage 4, in her early 30’s, has 3 beautiful children and she is 15-20 years out from dx. Another gal I know has lived with stage 4 for many (10+) years and continues to do well. (Not always easy–but living and enjoying her family. She even did the jitterbug at her grandson’s wedding last year.) I am not sure if you have come across this blog: Vicky, too, is walking the same journey you are…dx with stage 4 and in active treatment. You both have blessed me in so many ways.

  • Fran says:

    Oh, Lisa……..I feel for you, I feel for all of us. I wish I could erase cancer from the
    map and go back to the good life. I want so badly to go to the beach, where my journey
    began, and feel the same as I did sitting on the sand dune, staring out at the power of
    the water and knowing that no person, no thing, could have created. It was created by a power much greater than ourselves, by God. If had one prayer that I knew would come true it would be to take all the pain that is being felt tonight due to this horrifying disease and eradicate it…..kill it……rub it out……assasinate it………get rid of it totally.

  • jonahshome says:

    I am one of the many ‘friends’ who follow you Lisa. Your words are poignant and deeply moving. Despite your fears, your positive attitude does you credit. I wish you well and send you love and hugs to help you overcome your illness

  • Darryle says:

    Lisa, your words and depth and honesty go deep—and touch deeply.

  • You are an amazing writer Lisa. Take care.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Your blog gave me the courage to talk to a friend about how she feels dealing with cancer. It opened the door for her to really talk, instead of just saying she is fine.Thank you so much for writing. I wish you the very best.


    Susan Vuchetich

  • I don’t know you, Lisa, but I do know some of your friends and I’ve been following your blog. I don’t know if I can help or not (if I can, tell me tell me tell me!), but I wanted you to know that I am sending love out through the ether to you and your family.

  • Lisa,

    As you keep sharing, I’ll keep sharing–your words are a gift. Sending warm and healing thoughts.


  • […] And I’m also including this post from writer Lisa Bonchek Adams, because she poignantly captures the experience that so many of us have after a life-threatening diagnosis.  You may recognize her experience of being a passenger. […]

  • Anonymous says:

    I have Stage IV breast cancer to the bones in my spine. My reoccurrence came just two years after my initial diagnosis. You words reflect deeply how I am feeling, every day. Your thoughts give me hope and mentor me in living my life with grace.

    I think you wrote once, that our words written is all that we really leave behind. Your thoughtful writings will be a treasure to many people for many years to come. We will probably never meet but please know that you INSPIRE me, all the time.

    Be Well, Lisa


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