After he and his wife are diagnosed with cancer, a playwright reckons with the gift of creativity that trauma can bring

She is 3 years old and right now squealing with delight “Sandpipers! Sandpipers!” along the beach in Caherdaniel, on a misty late-June morning, with her mother following a few steps behind, when two years ago I thought her mother would die. When I know she will, one day, as I will. But now we may have longer together than we thought. With my lower back seized from driving the perilously twisting lanes of rural Ireland, I lie on a bed of rock above the cove, just as I lay in countless gurneys over the past 18 months, wheeled into operating rooms and the spinning, droning orifices of CT and MRI scans; I now allow others to care for me, when I have to.

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