A couple weeks ago, when my children were not eating yet another one of my homemade dinners, I started lecturing them about how actions speak louder than words, that I hoped they would always follow through with acts of meaning and substance.  As they sat sullenly over their bowls of Japanese beef curry stew and rice, I told them about how my parents never told me or my siblings that they loved us; they still don’t.  But we always knew that they loved us.  Always.  We knew because they worked long hours, six days a week, to make ends meet.  We knew because they were always there when they weren’t working.  We knew because they always cooked the most delicious meals for us.  I told my children about how food, the making of it, the enjoying of it, is often an expression of devotion and love, that I cooked these nice meals for them because I loved them and wanted them to eat healthily and to grow.  So, how did they think I felt when they didn’t eat my food.  Sweet Isabelle eagerly raised her hand like she was in the classroom.  “Yes, Isabelle,” I said.  “Bad?” she replied, somewhere between a statement and a question.  Mia continued to sit, seemingly ignoring the whole exchange and me especially, no doubt practicing for her preteen and teen years.  Despite my attempt at inciting guilt for rejecting my act of love, the kids didn’t touch their dinner that night.

And yet my words seemed to have seeped into their brains, at least Mia’s.  Mia made me a card yesterday for Mother’s Day that read, in part, “Thank you for taking such good care of us and for loving with action.”  Yes!!!!  I was so happy.  It was the best gift I could have possibly received for Mother’s Day.  That and the continental breakfast of a smushed toasted croissant, unwashed raspberries arranged in a triangle and a hard boiled egg that had been in the fridge for days.  The best Mother’s Day yet.

On this day after Mother’s Day, I got to the hospital again, this time for radiation simulation.  I am thinking again about the idea of love with action, about how in truth this struggle to survive and live well these almost four years is a tremendous act of love.  Through the pain and suffering, exhaustion and fear of more pain and suffering, I have lived not because I am afraid of dying, but because I am expressing my love.  Love for my children.  Love for my husband.  Love for my parents, siblings, family, friends.  Love for life itself.  As trite as it may sound, love is a powerful force that can motivate through fear, depression and paralysis as nothing else can.  It is what has kept me going all these years.

I find myself afraid again today.  The period of breathing more freely was short-lived.  More