Uncle Tony Mirabal… Rope-a-Dope with Cancer

He used to say, “Being a Pueblo Indian isn’t easy… it’s very hard, but I’m not gonna chase you around to teach you. I’m here. Want to know a song, want to know something, just ask me.”

Once again the world has unfolded another ass kicking into my field. Death is for the tired and weak. Life is for those of us who are still strong enough to laugh at our pains and symptoms.

Uncle Tony fought hard in his corner every day for the last year and a half battling the beast of cancer and the heavy gloves of chemotherapy. He lost all his hair but stayed with us long enough to grow it back dark black. He was fearless to the very end – joking with us and teasing us as he went in and out of the pain. Playing hide and seek with cancer isn’t fun.

Tears well up in my eyes as I think of him in a stupid hospital gown, two doors down from where my Aunt Mary had just been a couple weeks earlier. I turned away as he smiled at me, “Don’t cry for me…”

How can you not cry? Especially when one of the strongest men I knew as a boy and as a man had dwindled down to fit in that small gown – stripped of dignity and honor. The cancer beat him down so hard that the littlest pressure to lift his body bruised him. He fought down the pain with morphine and still stood – staggering and holding his fist to an imaginary enemy – as he held his corner. He never gave up, even knowing that he only had two months to live. Continue reading Uncle Tony Mirabal… Rope-a-Dope with Cancer