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A Clumsy Welcome

In the moments and days following Lindsay’s colon cancer diagnosis, my sister’s darkly comedic output went into overdrive. Inside the hurricane, I assumed this was Grief, manifesting in corporeal, Proper Noun form to hammer the surface of this impossible news, blunting the sharp edges of the thing. I, and we, played along, volleying jokes much like keeping a balloon in the air, and we found space to breathe in the moments before the balloon would threaten the floor, an experience at once fundamentally universal and wholly unique.


In those moments, Lindsay was crafting tools in the form of tiny jokes, silly references to serve later as callbacks.


We produced nicknames (as her new alter ego, Semi-Colon), songs and jingles, hashtags, branding opportunities, and more, funneling our energies into a marketing strategy for an imaginary board of directors, equal parts acidic and quippy. Always so quick with a playfully sharp insight, this portfolio was dynamic and robust, her toolbox expanding to fit ever more tools able to help navigate the oft-surprising twists and turns of this craptastic adventure.

I found many of Lindsay’s tools difficult to hold onto for more than a moment or three, the implements ill-suited for my hands and mouth, despite my participation in crafting them. And so I used them sparingly, in brief moments of good faith and laughs that too quickly become uncomfortable.


— —


Among the things cancer cruelly mutates is your perception of “the usual.” Time and place both become distorted reflections of themselves, cut adrift as flotsam, until they suddenly, often violently, collide with your hull. The nature of the thing meant we had all become accustomed to the unaccustomed: consistently inconsistent hospital visits and stays meant her relationship to the concept of Home had created new sets of answers for the questions “how long until an absence from home becomes weird? And then what?”


As we navigated the hospice process, Chris and I discussed how to navigate new answers to these questions for ourselves, and with Arya and Ellis — after all, how could the first few days of this approaching absence feel any different than so many of the hospital stays that have so cruelly marked much of their young lives?


In those conversations, and in so many of the difficult conversations and grievous moments since, I have increasingly found those same tools of Lindsay’s easier to wield, and with much greater benefit. Of course, the tools did not mutate to fit my hands and mouth, but rather the inverse because, and feel free to say it along with me: Fuck. Cancer.


But in making use of these Deathly Hallows, these quips and phrases she is present within, I can better appreciate Lindsay’s intentionality: in imbuing them so heavily with herself, she was forging tools we would come to be able to use to craft our own vessels capable of navigating this void, and to keep her close throughout. Simultaneously shielded by her radiance and shielding her radiance, the mutation feels suspended here, and cannot alter her Lindsayness.


— —


I’m still learning how to best use these tools, and don’t know for how long I’ll use them until they no longer serve purpose or fit my mouth and hands. In this moment, I take comfort in their ability to quickly center me on Lindsay’s compassion, Lindsay’s humor, Lindsay’s joy, Lindsay’s spark, Lindsay’s dimples, Lindsay’s insights, Lindsay’s laugh, Lindsay’s love.


I take comfort in knowing she forged tools with everyone she knew, and in the most Lindsayest of Lindsay ways, plenty of those she didn’t. Bearing witness to so many so clearly making use of their Lindsay Tools, each offering joyful insights into the magic she infused into so many lives, willfully redoubled by the magic of others, has been a difficult but powerful honor these last few weeks.


And because Lindsay’s best bit of magic has always been weaving communal webs to bind and connect folk, even when they didn’t realize it was happening. Truly, it takes a village: thank you for being part of Lindsay’s.


This space offers all of us the collective ability to share our Lindsay Tools, to lift the heavy weights, to carry the cumbersome loads, to soak up our tears, to make hugs a bit more squeezier, and to echo laughs into all of the crannies. And I will take comfort in that.

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I didn't know Lindsay or your family. I found out about her quite by accident on Facebook, but have followed her journey ever since. I was always struck by her raw honesty when writing about her circumstance. Needless to say, we - whether we know her or not - checked in often and were praying for a miracle. God bless Lindsay and all of you. 😥

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Tony Corace
Tony Corace
Mar 05, 2021

Beautifully written. Love you buddy.

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Eric, reading your Facebook update this morning was the worst news I could have heard. I never got to meet your sister but I've followed along since her diagnosis and my heart is broken for your family. I wish there was more that I could do but I will be donating to the GoFundMe and spreading the word about early onset colon cancer. I'm thinking about you and your brother in law and your whole extended family.

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