I wasn’t going to write this post today and I’m sorry if this one hits a little close to home for anyone. I’m sitting in my parents house waiting for the carpet cleaners to finish cleaning the carpets at our old house, but something is on my mind and it just won’t go away. So here I am to blog about it.
A blogger I have been reading since November’s Nablopomo 2006 found out today that after being treated for breast cancer a couple of years ago, she now has cancer in several other places.
Sepha has been on my mind for over a week now after she posted about her trip to Peru and a really positive post about coming home from there knowing what she wants to do next.
When I read it, I began thinking about trust. I trust my body right now, today. What if it let me down? It’s not just about cancer, anything could happen. Who would look after my cats if something happened to both of us, like a car accident? Who could I trust to do it the way I want it done? Pets are a big commitment, just as big as having children.
Then a few short days later she posted about her lymphnodes being palpable. I began thinking about my body and what it would mean to me to be in a position where I’d beaten cancer once and find myself possiby facing it a second time. I think I would be furious, terribly angry.
Today I checked her blog first thing and saw the news I did not want to see. You can read her post here.
I will not lie to you, I have spent some serious time bawling when I should be unpacking. I’m just so sorry, Sepha. Life is not fair.
Then I stop and think about the people I know who had cancer for a long time. My own Grandmother, who had cancer when she was 60, had radiotherapy and then lived till she was 85, when one day she decided to mop under the washing machine and slipped on a wet floor as she pushed it back into place, breaking her pelvis.
Soon after she was admitted to hospital they discovered she had bowel cancer. I think internally she had known it for a long time but she did not want to be told for certain, she did not want to let it change her. She just wanted to keep going as long as she could. I can understand that.
Would I rather not know, even if there was a chance it could be fixed and I could live a lot longer? I think so. This is why I put off having things checked out. This is why we all do that.
What I remember about my Grandmother is the joy she took out of each and every day she was here, the love she gave us, the ability she had to push herself even when she was elderly. She took us out all the time, to museums, to art galleries, to the beach, to all kinds of places.
She sucked the marrow out of life up until her last moments. I remember her coming to visit us from the hospital and looking at us so intently, like she was trying to fix the image of us in her mind before leaving us for good. The next day she slipped quietly away in the morning before any of us had a chance to get to the hospital. That would be exactly the way she wanted it.
The Other Half’s mother was told in the late 90s that she would not see Christmas 1998. She saw five more Christmas-es. I do not think any doctor should ever be putting an expiry date on someone like that. Some people, when told they will expire, do exactly that. Some people simply refuse to go when a doctor says they will go.
In fact we should not even ask “How long do I have”. None of us know that.
None of us know what the future holds for us.
I could get hit by a car later this afternoon.
It is up to us to take each and every moment we are given and make the most of it.
Are you living the life you want to live? If not, why not? How can you get there? What does it require? How unimportant are the material things when the end of your life is approaching? How important will it be that you live in a clean house, that your washing is done, that you sat for half an hour and watched the news which doesn’t affect you in a personal way? Would it be better to spend that time with family, friends, kids, pets?
The internet is important in some ways. It is our way to leave a lasting impression of ourselves here for future generations. It is a way to examine, to journal, to consider other points of view, to connect with people we may never have been lucky enough to meet in our real lives. But it is not the be all and end all.
There are many questions I will be asking myself in the future but my determination is not to waste as much time on unimportant things. Treasure each moment. Push myself to do the things I want to do, instead of the things I “should” do.
Those of you who I have met on the internet – you are all very important to me. Though we have never met in person it does not stop me from thinking of you as good friends. When things like this happen I feel this more strongly than usual.
I am thankful for whatever led me to you – or you to me. I am thankful you take the time to share your thoughts, experiences, and dreams with us all. I laugh when you laugh, I cry when you cry, I get angry when you get angry. I don’t believe any of that is wasted time.
I believe that working 60 hour weeks in order to pay a mortgage and have money for your children when you are gone is a waste of time. Will your kids remember the nice things they had, everything you worked so hard to give them at your funeral? No, they will simply be thinking “I wish we’d had more time together”.
I believe that you should do more things that make you happy. Whatever that is for you.
If your job is making you miserable, quit. Why waste a second somewhere you’re not happy? Cut back, shave your budget, make positive changes.
If your relationship is making you miserable, get the heck out of there. It is better to be on your own than with someone who isn’t making you happy.
If your home is making you unhappy, move. Go to the place you most want to be. It may mean sacrifices but in the end it is worth it, if it will make you happy.
If you own things that make you feel uncomfortable? Sell those things or give them away.
If your friends whine, complain, bitch, and make you feel like shyte, get rid of those friends. There are people out there who are better for you. Go and find them.
Take time out. Take a holiday at least once a year. Take a sick day. Take the kids out of school and go somewhere as a family. My Mother was always so worried about us missing a day from school. School teaches kids how to read and write, how to add things up, but one day off from that isn’t going to mean they can’t function in society.
As Ferris Bueller said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it“.
I’m going to ask you a tough question. Maybe some of you are up for answering it in the comments section, maybe some of you are not. In either case, at least answer it to yourself.
What is the one thing, right now, you wish you could change about your life?
Update – Sepha passed away Thursday 9 July 2009.