It’s rare that I hear a country song I like. For my taste, it’s too twangy, too contrived. Joey Feek was a country singer. She died last night. That still doesn’t make me like her music but I don’t have to. I look at pictures of her and realize I know her, never mind her music. She is my cousin who is down in Georgia fighting cancer with ever fiber inside her. She is one of my closest friends who swore the oncologist was a fool and the cancer was nothing but a virus she had caught. She is my mother who traded she and daddy’s bed for a hospital contraption that never managed to fit quite right in their bedroom. There are things cancer has taught me: the clang of bones kept quiet by the fortress of pillows. The bare head, the pixie stick legs and match stick arms. I know that as Joey Feek’s husband took that last photo of her straining to hold their two year old daughter up for a kiss, he was most likely looking through a lens obstructed by tears. I know she made a million promises to beat the cancer, and broke them all one by one. I know her family hung onto her strength even when it grew spider web-thin. Those of us who have seen death up close, felt its breath against our loved ones faces, know certain things. Sad things that sometimes make us cry while we’re driving to work or coming home from the movies. We could write books about these hard lessons if only the words would come sit with us for a while. Instead we settle for co-journeying with our friends when they join The Club. Welcome them with trembling arms and roses withered by the storm. We still know how to hold hope in our hands but when it slips through our fingers, we don’t mind holding air. Sometimes air is all that is left. We’ll take that too over nothing at all.