When cancer is ‘a love story’

To be clear, he is dying. They are talking about hospice.

And that is what he has chosen.

After we leave the hospital, we are sitting across from one another in a small diner in downtown Minneapolis, amidst the rubble of the future we’d imagined.

So what do you want to do now? he asks

Be here, I said. With you.

He orders pancakes.

It is often hard for mere mortals to fathom the grace that can surround dying.

Nora McInerny Purmort, her husband Aaron and the — presumably — thousands of people who have joined in their journey with Aaron’s brain tumor have provided a healthy dose of it to the rest of us by virtue of Instagram, Facebook, and Nora’s posts on My Husband’s Tumor.

The tumor was discovered in 2011. It reappeared not long before their child was born in 2013.

And now, the treatment for the cancer has stopped working and the Minneapolis couple and their child face the end of the journey. With grace.

In her latest column, she writes that until now, she hasn’t had to ask for help…

Our needs are pre-anticipated by this ridiculously, beautifully supportive community of humans in our city of Minneapolis and our real hometown, the Internet.

Ralph gets picked up from daycare and groceries appear on our back step. A private table appears for us at First Avenue so Aaron can enjoy his favorite bands and there are so many people trying to drive Aaron to his radiation appointments that not everyone even gets a chance.

Their friends have established a $75,000 goal to raise money to help in the days to come. They’ve raised $50,000 so far.

And then there is this. Last night, my sister set up a fundraiser. I don’t know how much we need because I’ve never been a single mother. And while a really logical person would have spent the past few years trying to figure out how to live on one income, we were like babe I just got paid let’s go enjoy the **** outta this money!! I mean, we also paid for two brain surgeries and a ton of chemo and stuff, but if I’m being honest, we also went to every single concert we wanted to go to and I do not regret it even if it wasn’t fiscally sound.

I don’t know how much hospice is or how much a funeral costs or how much it costs to raise a baby on my own, so we just threw out a number.

And it’s been crushed in under 24 hours.

(h/t: Jessica Horwitz)

From the Archive: Laughing When You Want To Cry