3-9 A Lifetime Contained March 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilyltripp @ 3:21 pm
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This weekend has been so sweet. Maybe someday I’ll be able to write about all of the silly, ridiculous, frustrating, joyful, strange, goofy (all so precious) moments that have happened in the past 3 days, but for now my dad and my sister and I must hold them close, protect them, cherish them. We’ve held our breath for days, on the edge of hilarity. She’s been so animated, so herself. Even though her aphasia has gotten extreme (a lot of the words she says aren’t at all what she means), every now and then there will be a second of pure perfection. On Saturday, as she dozed and I wrote, I heard her say “Don’t you doubt for a second–you have given me a lifetime contained.” Later that night she declared Sarah James and I the wardens of her heart. “You guard it,” she said. Even in the in-between times, when it seems like she isn’t quite sure where or when she is, she’s still all Cynthia: impatient, stubborn, captivating.

Yesterday she and Sarah James lounged in bed while I sorted through a dresser drawer stuffed with papers. We giggled for hours over her C’s in Bowling and Social Dance freshman year of college (a small stain on an otherwise impeccable transcript), passive aggressive notes from mine and SJ’s childhood (a list in my handwriting includes ‘LEAVE SJ ALONE’ as both a chore and a goal, a list in hers states ‘she won’t leave me alone’ as one of the many reasons I annoy her), a tiny faded photo of her and dad laughing poolside in the early years of their marriage–all tucked in amongst paperwork and Target receipts. I could spend years combing through this house and continue to be delighted by the riches sheltered inside.

Aruba, 1995

Aruba, 1995

On Saturday night, when transferring her from her wheelchair into bed, she complained of pain on her right side, above her ribcage. The area is swollen, and very tender–likely caused by inflammation in the liver due to the spread of the cancer. This morning she woke screaming at 7 am, in excruciating pain in both her head and chest. We got it under control and she slept most of the morning. When she woke on Friday, she looked at me and said, “I think I’m going to beat this,” and my dad, my sister, and I have been living in that suspended moment ever since. I’ll be honest with you all: I’m trying so desperately not to be angry, to instead be thankful for this borrowed time, but sometimes it seems impossible. My dad told me that it’s hard to understand why we can’t just keep her, and I agree. She’s ours. She belongs to us (and we thank you for understanding our need to be selfish with her time). She’s worried a few times that we’ll get bored of this, conscious of our needs even now that hers surpass them, but my breath catches every time she smiles. I found this passage in with all the rest of the treasures–

Don’t you kids know,
That life is made up of ordinary days
When there is no one to pat you on the back?
When there is no one to praise you?
When there is no one to honor you?
When there is no one to see how brave and noble you are?

Almost all of life is made of these ordinary days.
And it is how you live your ordinary days
That determines whether or not you have big moments.
Get out there and make something of your ordinary days.

You have many ordinary days behind you,
Most of which were filled with sweat and work.
And you have also had some big moments
That were a result of the ordinary days.
But there is a big moment that has not
been realized for quite some time.

It is time for that moment!

Ann Kiemel Anderson “I’m Out To Change My World”

–we want to stay grounded in these ordinary days, as much as possible, for as long as possible.



8 Responses to “3-9 A Lifetime Contained”

  1. […] e. e. cummings. She looked in my eyes and moaned softly, and nodded. I read one of my recent posts, A Lifetime Contained. The lines You have many ordinary days behind you, Most of which were filled with sweat and […]

  2. Amy Cole Says:

    Emily, Sarah James and Mr Tripp – Our daughter, Griffin was in Mrs Tripp’s advisory group last year and is preparing to graduate in May. Your mom/wife has been a blessing in our lives from day one. She has been that person for our Griffin who patted her on the back and praised her on those “ordinary days” and has always been encouraging, understanding and loving when we needed it most. Even up until December of this year she was keeping in contact with us about how Griffin was doing and what she could do to help. She is such a gift and truly one of the most genuine, loving examples of Christ that we have known, I know you know that to be true. In our many times spent with her she spoke of you all often, telling stories and sharing how proud she was of you all. We are certainly thankful that God saw fit to make her a part of our story. We are praying in earnest for your sweet family – for grace and mercy and peace as you walk through this time of sweet moments and tough ones. We are honored to be able to lift you all up to our Father and will continue to do so. Love – Scott and Amy Cole & family

    • emilyltripp Says:

      Thank you so much, Cole Family! Your thoughts of mom and love of her means so much to us during this time. I’m so glad she has gotten to know Griffin, and I know she would want to pass along her excitement over her graduation–just a few months left! Congrats!

    • emilyltripp Says:

      We just received such beautiful flowers from your family–CT saw them and said “WOAH!” She loves Gerbera daisies! Thank you!!

  3. Gina V Stansell Says:

    Dear Emily, Sarah James, and Mr. Tripp, I don’t know you at all, and I barely know your mom and wife. She taught my husband David Stansell in his 7th grade year at BA, 1981-82. I believe she was his first teacher, the first period, of his very first day there. While middle school can be torture for many, for him your mom/wife poured out acceptance, encouragement, approval and encouragement, things he had been needing and doing without for years. When David introduced me to her, maybe 20 years later, your mom/wife still looked at him with delight in her eyes. What a precious, amazing woman! Her ordinary days have been filled with life-giving, life-changing moments. My father died of cancer when he was 62. Cancer is a ravaging thief. I encourage you to go ahead and feel your anger at the cancer, for the relationships that will be severed, time being cut short, and so much more. The anger may serve as a foil for the joy and love you are also feeling. I’m so sad that Cynthia’s cancer won’t be healed here. I’m so sad that so many will lose her everyday, ordinary, extraordinary love and being. Many blessings to you. We continue to pray for Cynthia and for you.

    Love, Gina, David, Ben, Willa, and Dora Stansell


    • emilyltripp Says:

      Thank you so much, Gina. It’s wonderful to hear from her old students–there have been so many times that I have been out with her and we’ve run into someone from the old days. I know that look in her eyes; she takes such delight in seeing the people all of her children have grown up to be. I’m so glad that she holds such a special place with your family.


  4. candanning Says:

    These days are so precious and so much a special part of life. So glad all of u are experiencing this with Cindy. Love u all

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