my dad and i both long believed that glyphosate roundup herbicide triggered the non-hodgkins lymphoma that led to his death.

i never much said anything about this belief because belief doesn’t count for much without scientific back-up.  today i read a report that analysed forty studies from the past thirty years about the link between glyphosate and non-h lymphoma.  it concluded that the link is real and substantial.  i’m sure this won’t mean much mainstream-wise as the report wasn’t picked up by mainstream media.  (heaven forfend chemicals giant monsanto lose any profit from their sales of ’roundup-ready’ seeds and roundup!)

still, i feel better for it.  better?  perhaps that’s not the best word for it.  neither tho is ‘justified’, ‘absolved’, or ‘validated.’  it’s sort of a satisfied feeling, deep inside.  the sense that i’m not the only crack-pot sitting at the neglected, shadowed back of the garden with the other weeds and crazy ideas.

it was the weeds that saw dad use so much roundup.  he wore a face mask, tho not a full respirator or full length protective clothing, when he sprayed the blackberries, burs, thistles, weeds and so many rosehip plants that covered our newly purchased two acre lot, in 1987.  fourteen years later he was diagnosed with non-h lymphoma, twelve years after that he was dead.

the two acres was very nearly covered, every centimetre, with weeds, predominantly of the spiky, unfriendly kind.  there was nowhere for my brother and i to play and run.  nowhere to plant our fresh, to-be-organic vegies and fruit trees, cranberry bushes, lavender, grape vines… nowhere to build the chook run.  after weeks of concerted effort these spaces emerged.  dead plants pulled out by the armload and i presume burnt, tho i can’t remember that bit.

we had space even for a swing, an inventor’s shed just for karl.  dad made all this possible with his hard work, a cancer-inducing herbicide, and eventually his life.

it is no secret my dad and i had a less than familial relationship.  as i said in my memorial speech for him tho, that did come to be by-the-by.  being a parent now i know what lengths a parent will go to provide for their children.  was my father risking his life, albeit unbeknownst at the time, to give his children happiness?  i’m sure there was a lot of ‘european male conquering his environment’ in it, but i think now (now that i can allow the mellowness of death and irrevocability be part of me) he cleared that plot of land with me and my brother in mind.

would my dad have gotten cancer without exposure to glyphosate?  i don’t think so.  and i think now i’ll have the courage to say so.  have i been a coward then for the past two-plus decades to not previously say so.  yes.  yes, i didn’t want to stand up with my anecdote and declare my empirical evidence with a sample of one.  i’m sure there’s some marvellous quote out there about ‘one’ being enough, or changing the world.  never mind.  i don’t feel guilt that dad used roundup; i was just eleven or twelve years old at the time.  i do feel guilt for my cowardice since then.  mostly my cowardice by not acknowledging what my dad did, why and how, who for and what the final cost to him was.  Not acknowledging it to him.