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5 Years – “See What You Can Do With It”

May 14, 2015

5 years ago, this morning, I received a phone call from my doctor that completely changed my life. In the weeks that followed, the foundations of my values and decisions were challenged. Some things fell apart, and, over time, got put back together with greater integrity.

Through it all, I had the sense that our bodies were built for this… for change, decay, suffering, but also joy.

Diagnosis anniversaries are strange – neither happy nor sad, but significant. For this 5th-year anniversary, I am releasing a short EP of my own original music, called “The Earth Was Built For It.” The journey of processing my diagnosis and new life with Type 1 has been one of extremes: gratitude, grief, spiritual turmoil, peace, even joy. Today’s EP features four original songs that, to me, express these extremes.

A huge part of making sense of my new life with Type 1 has come from my work in oncology and palliative care. Learning to walk alongside people in their suffering has deepened my sense of gratitude and cultivated resilience and perspective. It has also helped me more fully comprehend the loss I experienced 5 years ago when my body suddenly betrayed me, has helped me to forgive and trust my body again, and taught me to never take anything for granted.

That’s why I’m attaching this EP release with a cause that is close to my heart, the fundraising for a new hospice here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Until May 24rd, all proceeds from Bandcamp purchases of the EP will go towards funding the construction of Innisfree Hospice, which is being built to meet a sore need in Waterloo Region for supporting people dying of cancer and their families.

Anniversaries like today aren’t really happy or sad, but they are significant. It’s hard to know what to do with them. So on that note, I’ll leave you with this song off the EP, called “Topography.” Because all these strange life-things, these losses and changes and mortal decay…our bodies were built for it, and the Earth was built for it. See what you can do with it.

Topography

It’s become a part of the landscape
It’s become a topography
It’s become a part of the way
That I think about the land and sea

It’s become a pile of emotion
Mile high of human debris
It’s become a part of the way
That I think of you thinking of me

And don’t run away from it
And don’t shy away from it
Emotion it is a gift
Our bodies were built for it

But you broke off a piece and floated downstream
Broke off a piece and floated away
Broke off a piece and floated downstream
A piece of the iceberg lost in the sea

And so we chip away at the stories
Leave ‘em out to soak up the rain
Let ‘em dry in the sun to become
Solidified again

And they become a part of the landscape
They become a topography
They become the mountains we climb
That erode then slowly into sea

And don’t run away from it
Erosion it is a gift
The earth it was built for it
These scars that pass over it

But you broke off a piece and floated downstream
Broke off a piece and floated away
Broke off a piece and floated downstream
And now there is an empty hole…

And don’t run away from me
And don’t shy away from me
You are my topography
The earth it is you and me

But where do the pieces go when they flow downstream
And do dreams help make them whole
And how can I retrieve all the pieces that broke
Cuz now there is an empty hole in the water
And now there is an empty hole in the mountain
And now there is an empty hole in my soul
But I don’t really notice it anymore…

…see what you can do with it…

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