Ilana Stanger-Ross Rotating Header Image

Out of the fog, into the fog

It’s a beautiful day in Upper Kingsburg. Hot & clear skies: no small feat for Nova Scotia. Eva and Tillie water-winged it around the pond while I swam out past the rocks & sand &  scary seaweed (as a child I saw a Little House on the Prairie episode in which a girl drowns after getting her foot caught in a seaweed patch; subsequently her mother forces Laura into her dead daughter’s clothes and locks her in the cellar. Abundant seaweed still makes me shiver) to where the water was deep and cool and clean.

All around the pond is green, with just a few homes and barns perched on the grassy hills. It’s a beautiful –breathtaking –spot.  I floated on my back a bit and stared up at the perfect blue sky.

I haven’t written in awhile, and partly it’s because I’ve been on vacation, but partly it’s because my father has brain cancer.

I’m going to admit something really dumb: for years and years I’ve heard of people who seem healthy and then get told they have cancer, and suddenly they’re truly, incredibly, sick.

And I never understood it.

I always kind of wondered: What if they hadn’t been diagnosed? Would they still be a healthy-seeming person if they just never knew?

I told you upfront: stupid.

What I understand now is how the cancer grows before the symptoms present. And then once they present, with some kinds of cancer, things change quickly.

So, to go from my mom’s timeline: on July 9th my parents were dancing together at a wedding. Then came a strange numbness down my father’s right side, & then he hit a parked car & then the MRI & then the biopsy & now the treatment, and he’s been in bed all weekend, weak, and he knows though I don’t say that you can hear the cancer in his voice.

I’ll be home in a few days. Though there’ll be nothing for me to do, really. And then we’ll be off again way out west. And then Eva starts kindergarten and I start my final year of midwifery training and both feel like varying degrees of overwhelming, though I know we’ll muddle through. (Have I mentioned before that Eva’s [public] education will be conducted in French? French. I picture her singing “Frere Jacques” over and over, which tells you just about all you need to know about my French).

So you can see about floating in the pond with blue sky above. I’m going with the idea that if I can pack in enough of those moments I’ll be able to take them out later, try them on again at some future date, feel & touch that watery, floating feeling.

I’ll let you know if it works.

Romkey Pond

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  1. moonrat says:

    oh, Ilana… i’m thinking of you…

  2. Sara says:


    I’m thinking of you and sending you love, compassion, understanding.

    Coffee, playdate, commiserating when you get home? It’s a long road ahead, keep hope in the forefront.


  3. hanako says:

    Hey you,

    I’ve thought of you a lot lately, but not in the context of your father being sick. I’m sorry that that has to be part of your life at the moment. You know you can try your thoughts and feelings out on me anytime.

    We’re all really looking forward to having you back. Eiko speaks of Eva every day, and I realized with a pang in bed the other night that I miss Tillie!

    See you soon.

    p.s. I love your blog.

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