Winter is Coming

November 29, 2015
First Sunday in Advent

Winter is coming.
— motto of House Stark, in A Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin, b. 1948
American novelist

I am not a devotee of [A] Game of Thrones, with or without the indefinite article. I have many friends who are, however, and that, combined with the books’ and TV show’s popularity means I am aware of its most famous catch-phrase. On a literal level, the motto reminds the inhabitants of Westeros that they must be ready for harsh weather and its deprivations. Metaphorically, it means dark periods come in the lives of all, and those times can be harsh and daunting even for those who expect them and are prepared.

Winter is coming for House DeAngelis. Here is how I gave the news on Facebook:

“Some of you have noticed that I have been checking in from various medical facilities for the past month. I have not been the patient, but the companion, driver, and quest manager for my husband. Ron has been diagnosed with Stage 2 primary lung cancer. He will undergo six weeks of chemotherapy (once a week) and radiation therapy (five times a week), then have a four-week hiatus, followed by eight weeks of radiation alone (or so the plan is now). We begin this process as Advent, the season of hope and anticipation, begins. We have a great deal of hope. We have everything we need in order to address this illness and undertake the course of treatment. We ask the continued spiritual/intangible support of our friends in whatever form you generally use: prayer both traditional and idiosyncratic, light-filled thoughts, periodic awareness of our place in your lives and yours in ours. To paraphrase Leonard Cohen, ‘You know our love goes with you, as your love stays with us.'”

11.29Advent1Today I began Advent as I always do, with C&C (Coffee and Contemplation) in silence, before the vista I have loved for almost forty years. This picture captures both the Woman at the Well figurine I keep on the table and the Woman at the Well fountain statue, now relocated to the corner of the deck since Ron dismantled the pond this summer.

I was up before it was light. New people moved in to the house across the street yesterday, the first time in these forty years that that house has changed hands. The girl who grew up there was our babysitter, her parents our friends. The porch lights were on this morning at 5:45. A Christmas wreath is already on the front door. As I waited for my computer to boot, I saw someone bundled against the cold and the mist mount the steps and enter the house.

Winter is coming. I am where I am most Advents — a little scattered, strayed from the plans for reading and writing that seemed so engaging in August, but with challenges more profound than I have faced before. Writing and interaction with my online communities have always helped me in times like this. Holidailies begins on Tuesday. Come with me, as the darkness turns to light.



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