“We lived by “Today is a memory – make it a good one.” No regrets. They will eat your soul.”
Someone that I love very much told me this today. She was talking about grieving her beloved, who recently died from the same disease my husband’s fighting.
Hearing her story, living with and through the hard reality of cancer, and reading the Rapture jokes and commentary that’s been circulating — it’s all been swirling around my brain today. Which is a good thing. At least something’s moving around up in there.
It’s gotten me thinking: What if Saturday was everybody’s expiration date? What if we all knew that our civilization, that the whole world population, every human being on Earth would “cease to be” on Saturday? No reprieves. No one enraptured. What if it really was just “the end?”
Laying aside the jokes, and any commentary about religion, I wondered what I’d do if I knew I only had 36 hours or so to go.
I hope that I would find a little peace of mind somewhere, enough at least that I could sit down and write one more piece, even just paragraph, as long as it was heartfelt and true. I would want to read something — something wondrous and inspiring. (A short story, obviously.) I would want a walk with my friend Dennise, and then to share a meal with friends Ken Jones and Carrie Wise, who tell stories that make me laugh until I ache. I’d definitely have to dance – a big dance party, instigated and orchestrated by Lulu. I’d want one more Scrabble game. And a big glass of cool water, and an ice-cold Diet Dr Pepper. I would call my sisters and my mother. I would send messages, as many as possible, to my big extended family and my friends. I would try to keep my sons in my sight, all day, every minute. As the time ran down, I would cry about not being able to get home, about not being able to see the farm one last time. I am married to the man that I’d want to spend my last minutes with.
It boils down to this, weirdly enough: “How lucky am I?”
I have made gratitude lists before, but never coming at it from this angle. Cancer, watching a loved one suffer, dealing with the myriad of issues that come with it – it sucks you dry. It robs you of thought, feeling, the ability to do, to act – on anything. Even prayer, even crying, even taking that next breath…sometimes even a deep breath is just too much to bear.
This warped path does lead to real gratitude. Considering “the end-all” brings renewed appreciation just for the doing, the being, for “today” and the memories that we are making here, even with cancer in this house. I have had such love in my life. It amazes me.
How about you? Setting aside the jokes, and the comments on religion…
Pretend it’s all over this Saturday. Where do you want to be, what do you want to be doing, and with whom? Are you living close to that, or anywhere nearby? Or are you far away from your heart-deep wants and wishes?
And if not, how do you get there?