You’ve heard the term… perhaps it conjures up images of Yin and Yang;  concepts of life and death;  perceptions of male and female.  There are dualities all around us and we are subconsciously bombarded with them every day, although we generally take no notice.  Good examples in our every day life are the sun and the moon; high tide and low tide; dawn and dusk… or how about the degree of good and the evil, in all of us?

It’s very difficult to think about one without thinking about the other.

The call I received from Arielle on Friday, where she happily announced that her cancer markers are down to 5, could not have been in more contrast and opposition to the call I received from my brother today, where he quite blatantly told me that the radiation and chemotherapy are kicking his butt.

Arielle is very close to being medically considered “in remission.” (I’ve been told they don’t use the word “cured” anymore, so in remission is as good as it gets!)  However, Tommy’s at the other end of his journey, looking into what I can only imagine is a very dark abyss.

Last summer, after Arielle was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I wrote a blog titled “A Deal With God.”  In it, I wrote about a deal I wanted to make with God, where I would gladly, happily, willingly trade what was left of my my life, for hers… It made perfect sense to me, if a “life” was what was needed, I would go and she would stay.  I had already lived a long, healthy, happy life and she had her whole life ahead of her!!

After today’s call from my brother, I’m worried that somehow God may have misunderstood!

Tommy received his diagnosis just a little more than 3 months after Arielle received hers…  In fact she was already on the road to recovery, when he found out he had lung cancer.  It’s not that he said anything specific to me today or that I have any idea what his prognosis is…  but Stage 3, Non-operable lung cancer can’t be a good thing, right?

Is it possible that in what were some of my darkest hours, as I was praying, begging and pleading with God not to take her, but to instead take me… a mistake could have been made?  Could He have somehow seen my brother and I as being interchangeable?  Was there some freaky duality at play, that made one “Grassel” sibling seem just as good (or bad) as the other?

I dread to think.

As I’ve said I have no idea how Tommy’s journey is going to play out… with any luck, the “kick ass” amounts of radiation and chemotherapy he’s getting, will blow his cancer into remission and he’ll go on to live another 10, 15, 20 years!  I hope and pray that’s the case.

…but I can’t stop thinking about duality and the fact that we sometimes have to give up something in order to get something.

I keep shaking my head, but can’t seem to wake myself from this dream.


  1. Oh, Melissa! Please, please forgive me but I must say this. God does not make deals with us like this, and certainly will not make a mistake in that deal you think you made. We don’t understand His ways or thoughts or reasoning, We can ask Him later. You are in no way responsible for trading your brother for your daughter, And if that is what God decided was to happen, then it was His idea, not yours. Maybe it was Tommy’s prayer He is answering, Who knows?

    Just be grateful for the one and hopeful and pray for the other. That’s all we can do and never think it was in any way your fault. I love you girl and we (my family) and I are all praying for your family.

    BTW, my lovely granddaughter, Brittany, has decided that she MUST take a trip to Europe. I told her – you know my best friend lives in England. Maybe you can visit her. She asked me who is that? I replied, “You know my friend Melissia – the one with the red shoes, purse and lipstick that you went crazy over..” She said, “G-Ma, get a grip! What was I? 3,4, or 5 when I last saw her?” I then told her to never ask me for your address. Don’t you love the respect I get? LOL

    Love and happy thoughts to you!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Dear Caryn, I know you are right… but I can never stop myself from asking the questions and looking for the answers even though I realize they are not mine to have. Re Brittany… no worries, when she comes and meets me again, she will go crazy all over again! ; )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa,
    God does not make deals!!!! Believe me I have tried, but he is with you and walking beside you (every step). Hearing about just one more of “my boys” having cancer is devastating to me. We have lost so many and it does not get easy to hear. My prayers are with you and Tommy and should you need me for anything you know how to reach me. Love ya – Cheryl


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