I heard a story yesterday. It wasn’t a story I had not heard before. But for the first time, I tried to listen instead of avoiding it as I usually do.The topic of cancer is never one anyone wants to hear about. It’s so scary in its nature. When someone gets diagnosed with it, you want to nurture, deny or run away from it.
I shut my brain down to this word when I hear it. I am not proud of it, but before you judge me too harshly, let me just say that I have a healthy fear of death, mostly because I find death such a nasty thing to happen to a perfectly good life. It’s so final and unforgiving. And thinking about it makes me uncomfortable. I simply don’t want to know about the ride to the end, and since cancer seems to take that ride and rip the quality of it until you finally die a small transparent forgotten shell of the person before, to me it’s a double bad guy.
Let me be clear, I would never abandon my immediate family, friends or my husband if this disease made an appearance. I am not heartless, I just don’t volunteer for every cancer patient I hear about watching people fight a mostly losing battle as you stand there helpless to do anything to fix it. I try to regain the peace of mind that leaves me every time I hear someone else is battling this monster.
My goal is not for anyone who has fought this disease bravely to hate me, but I won’t lie about my feelings about this thing either. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Looking at someone who is fighting to live from this disease is a very real reminder of our finite time on the planet we call home and unless it’s someone you love and are part of their every day life, I have a truly hard time watching someone losing their quality of life before actually losing their life. It’s awful and very unfair, to the people losing on both ends.
But for once yesterday I simply listened to this man whose wife for no apparent reason fainted one day and started to throw up blood. A scan later the doctors realized she had all kinds of cancerous tumors in her body. She was in top physical shape beforehand, having even been invited to attend a physical fitness rally event just before she got sick.
Her husband told me their story and that she was going through chemo to get more time even though she asked that they don’t give her an ETOD (estimated time of death). He says she is fighting and even after 7 treatments has not lost her hair yet.
I listened to this and felt such sadness for these people who were just living their lives and not bothering anyone. Why is this monster so strong among us still today?
I could see in his eyes the idea of losing his mate when they were barely retirement age was just unbelievable to him and the pride he felt when speaking of how strong she was.
It got me thinking at first of the fact that I am alright and as far as I know minus my aches and pains, I am for the most part healthy and I felt such a sense of gratitude. Even with my side pain, my gummy innards and mystery pains coming and going from my condition, I am grateful for today.
I am grateful for my husband who works hard, for my sons who I love more than life. I enjoy seeing them start their own lives and helping them get there. I feel good at knowing that they know they will never be alone or without a place to call home as long as we live.
Do expectations play a part in someone’s life when life is running out? Probably not. Would you try and squeeze every good feeling you can put your mind to? Most likely, yes? Would your perspective change? I think so.
Then why is it so hard for us to live this way all the time? Is it just because we didn’t get a dire prognosis? I have news for you and for myself. We all have a dire prognosis. Yes we do. Our clocks are all going to expire. Should we concentrate on this? No, we should not fanatically live in fear. But we should always remember that today or tomorrow could be our last. Who is to know what is to happen?
Did you make the most of today or yesterday? My immediate response to that was no when trying to think of how it would feel if I had been told I was going to expire sooner rather than later.
But then I have to look at it again. I woke up yesterday and enjoyed my fresh pressed coffee. Man is that stuff good.
I then started my paid for (although it needs some fixing) little Jeep to work and enjoyed the air and sunshine and music as I went. “Here for A Good Time” playing on the radio. Kinda Ironic if I think about it, but really love that song when it plays.
Being the summer season, it’s quieter at work and some are on vacation this time of the year, so a calmer spell of just working comfortably has set in. I sat in my chair with my heating pad sending some much needed warmth to my internal parts giving it comfort and also a feeling of well-being.
I did my work without too many difficulties and even helped a lady out of a jam, as people walked in and out throughout the day.
Once done, I locked up and made my way home, not before stopping and donating some more stuff from my cluttered abode and finally arriving at my sanctuary that I call home. The love and ease and quiet there make it easy to just relax and feel well. Sometimes I have the energy to do a few things, but sometimes I just rest.
Did I climb mountains? No. Did I accomplish a big bucket list item? No. Was my day a waste of time? I don’t think so. Didn’t feel like it. I was happily busy going about my day.
Can I just leave my job and say, I’m dying eventually so I don’t want to work anymore. Probably not. But hey, some of you may take that leap. For me, I’m enjoying trying to reach my destination. I want to be financially free but also stable (at least feel like I am) to enjoy living every day. I find I am thoroughly enjoying the process, the journey and the challenge of it all, so it’s part of my joy of living every day. Do I look forward to slowing down and possibly staying home? Of course I am. More time to interact with the people I love. Who would not want that?
I work an office job that I am good at. It’s not too stressful most of the time, thank goodness. I go home to a grumpy bear husband who takes care of all of us (he’s only grumpy part of the time).
I live in a nice older home that I love trying to keep on top of in cleaning (yeah right) and de-cluttering, surrounded by the people I love.
Would I be sorry to go if my number suddenly came up? Oh yes. Because I have so much I really want to keep doing and hope to accomplish. Would I think that such mundane things like trying to get my boys set up in their lives as a waste of my time if my time became short? No.
Because life will continue or stop for each individual regardless of what we think we wasted time on or not. The best we can do is help ourselves find the little things every day that make us smile, things that can keep our kindness and humanity close to the surface. Also giving of one’s self I found really bring an ease to your day.
So what did I figure out more after really listening to this story that I had heard unfortunately before from others who had suffered the same fate, since so many have to deal with this reality.
Well it’s that you need to try to be a good person to yourself as much as you can. If an opportunity presents itself that really makes you happy or smile comes your way. Take it, don’t hesitate.
IF there is an opportunity to be nice to someone even if it’s a little bit inconvenient, try to help if you can. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
We all need to have a little more fun. A kinder heart, an easier smile and not take everything so seriously. Life will happen regardless if you are happy or unhappy about it. The best we can do is bring the sun into our day instead of chasing it away.
For yourself and anyone who is around you. Don’t worry about the countdown regardless if you know it or not, because it will come no matter what. Be more concerned with every moment that you waste not feeling the way you want to feel.
IT could be passion, eccentricity, originality, philosophy, peacekeeping, blissfulness, etc. Whatever you feel, feel it and enjoy every single minute.
And when the bad times come, just make sure you try to be compassionate even if it’s hard and be part of the joy of life and not the problem.
Enjoy every minute, love with the heart of someone who has just found out about the awesomeness of love and squeeze every last little bit of what you want from it. It’s the only way to go or stay.
I wish you all the health you can stand, but if you can’t have that. I wish you ways of bringing joy and happiness to your life, inviting it in. Who knows it may even be the way to heal your body! Stranger things have happened.