Monday, May 14, 2007

You don't have to call me darlin', Darlin.

Allow me to go full-on hippy on you today.
The truth is, despite the malignant melanoma, I know what I'm supposed to know. I know that if I don't take the time to enjoy every moment, a whole lifetime can suddenly sneak by. I know that ultimately, death is nothing more than another experience in a long line of experiences. I know that being aware of every emotion I feel and being true to those are what keep me happy and make me feel sane. I know that seeing things exactly as they are is the means to daily peace. I know those things.


And yet somehow ugly malignant melanoma poopie head still has a knack for taking control of my thoughts, of my actual BEING, to the point where I feel that I don't even know who I am. Literally I think to myself sometimes, who am I? Because when it boils down to it, I'm not who I thought I was. I thought I was a fighter. I thought I was the type of person that could come out of this shining, with renewed vigor for life and a stronger conviction for... I don't know, something. I look back at those thoughts now and I just think about how naive they are. Yes, I am a fighter. But would I "fight"- risk my quality of life for a year for a 6% increase in chance of survival? No. Never. Am I coming out of this experience shining? Yes and no. No, I'm not the spokesperson for unprecedented optimism. And yet I don't think that's a bad thing. I think I actually see this for what it is, and acknowledge how painful it is not only to be diagnosed, but to see friends and family and people you love go through horrible experiences. Not even horrible like death (although a painful death is a given). But just horrible experiences like dealing with the fact that treatment hasn't worked or that the recurrence has spread through their body. Yet I do see that life is different for me and changed and, I admit, in some ways better. Not better like I thought it would be, but still, better. There isn't a time I talk on the phone or hug someone goodbye or even just talk to them that I don't think, "This could be the last time I do this." Even with cancer-free people I think this. Some may call this morbid, but I believe this is the reality of this life. We just never know what could happen, and I know this from experience. Lia. She was there one day, and it seemed the next she had moved in with her parents, then just like that she was gone. Like that. Two weeks. A whole life whisked away from me. A bright star I never got to see again. Who knows what could happen to me or anyone else just like that? In Tibet, there are stories of monks who pour the water out beside their bed before they go to sleep because they know the moment of death could come at any moment. Why plan on being thirsty when we have no idea when this life ends? It's an amusing thought and yet at the same time I think that's how we should all be living. Why not embrace this impermanence? Isn't that what living is about?
I think a while back I told you that I had dreamt of my dad. This had to be a year or so ago. But when I woke from that dream I had the most insanely peaceful and warm feeling. Bobby was laying beside me and I was trying to explain the feeling- a warmth I could not express, a peacefulness and an ease that would not allow for any anxiety or regret. Slowly, as I lay there, the feeling crept away, and the normal feelings of isolation and futility which we often don't even realize we have took over. I didn't think much of it. In the last few weeks I had the same experience again, but this time it wasn't with my dad, it was just some sort of shadow person. And the feeling was the same again- warmth, peace, calmness, comfort. The feeling that everything was truly going to be alright. The feeling that all the worrying I do and the guilt I feel are such complete wastes of precious time. When I tried to explain it to Bobby, what I finally said was, "It was like love. Like realizing for the first time what love feels like and what it feels like to be unconditionally loved." Warm and glowy and wonderful, like nothing can do you any harm. I even said to him, "that's why people that have near death experiences aren't afraid- because they have felt that feeling." This is part of what I know. I know that this type of feeling is available to me- that I can find this peace in myself if I embrace what I know. I know that if I don't take the time to enjoy every moment, a whole lifetime can suddenly sneak by. I know that ultimately, death is nothing more than another experience in a long line of experiences. I know that being aware of every emotion I feel and being true to those are what keep me happy and make me feel sane. I know that seeing things exactly as they are is the means to daily peace. And knowing all of this brings me closer to that feeling of ultimate love.

-L

5 comments:

faye said...

Thanks again for sharing your journey so honestly...I'm glad you are finding peaceful places. Thinking of you,
Candi

Kim said...

Lori(Wendy)
I will so call you Darling...Little Sister! And I can because I am a Smart Ass.
I think I have had something close to the feelings you speak of here. It is like being swaddled by the universe in the collectively conscience, but not so much as Durkheim thought...Or it could just be all those good thoughts coming your way by legions of admirers wanting to call you Darlin'.
Metaphysics can really mess with my brain.
Tootles (K)
PS You can't go looking back now.
*second to the right and straight on till morning*

mlittle said...

My son's school sent home a 'Counselor's Corner' newsletter a few weeks ago. It gave behavioral advice and stories about postive attitudes and the like. I saved it because it had a blurb about worry. It said:

WORRY

Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrow. It empties today of it's strength. Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.
~Corrie Ten Boom

It makes sense to me but I'm not good at heeding the advice.

I hope you are able to find that daily peace. You are far stronger than you give yourself credit for.

What a great blog entry. It was incredibly honest.

Melissa

Carver said...

Dear Lori,

You are a remarkable woman. Beautifully honest.

As ever, Carver

Holly said...

Your honesty reflects the great strength that is part of "who you are"...Not all those who fight are strong and not all those with strength choose to fight.

There is nothing mobid about having the courage to face your realities and in facing our own realities, we sometimes, as you have done already, learn important lessons about what is to be cherished and how precious time is.

Thank you for your continued courage to share these feeling in a public forum. You may not alway see it as self-evident but you embody strength, wisdom and courage!

i2y

I'm Too Young For This!