We are all going to die. I know this. Everyone knows this and I think that’s the worst thing about it – the knowing.
I often wonder how much my dogs and cats understand. Do they think of death? Can they even fathom it and would it frighten them if they knew? It’s a terrible thing to know it’s coming but it’s so much worse when death’s arrival seems that much more immediate. Being diagnosed with cancer at 37 was terrifying. Suddenly that deadline that sat safely on the distant horizon came looming in my face. I wasn’t ready to see my death that close when I was initially diagnosed, nor was I ready to confront it again when I was re-diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years later.
I am FB friends with a woman who has been battling cancer while I’ve been going through my cancer treatments. She had a brain tumor surgically removed and then endured the following chemo and radiation with a smile on her face for much of the time – that’s remarkable. Recently she learned that there are more lesions on her brain, two of them are much deeper and are surgically difficult to remove. What the hell? To anyone who hasn’t been through chemo, I can tell you: it plain sucks. Being systemically poisoned on a bi-weekly basis is very hard. It’s exhausting, and humbling, and it hurts. To go through all that only to find that you have to do it again, or do it differently, or die. Holy baloney that sucks. And it could happen to me just as easily. There’s no way to know what caused the cancer in the first place so how can we hope to prevent future occurrences? I’m playing with a time bomb that’s my own body. I hate living with this over my head but it’s just my lot now.
I find that lately I’m always in a rush. I feel panicked that I won’t have time to do what I want to do in life. I cringe when I have to make an appointment for the next week. That just seems so FAR away! I want everything to happen NOW when I have a chance to experience it. I don’t even want to plan something next year. How do I know if I’ll be around? Or healthy enough? All I can think about is now. Right now. What can I do now to fulfill my dreams? There is no someday anymore. There is no later. I am living every day like it’s my last and, sometimes, it’s exhausting. I’m working to make my career something and I spend as much time as possible with my children which doesn’t leave much time for anything else. But despite my efforts to live life in the present, I feel that my time is quickly running out and I’m beginning to despair that I’ve left everything too late.
Perhaps, in this one thing, ignorance is bliss. It’s easy to enjoy a leisurely afternoon when you think you might have 10,000 more to be productive. But, if it’s your last, and your overall ambition is to leave some mark on the world, well then, there’s no time to linger. I personally feel that I need to be remembered in this life, I need to make something that people will remember me by. I need to leave something of my own creation behind and I don’t feel that I’ve done that to my satisfaction yet.
The only way to cope, I think, is to slow down and have hope and belief that I won’t die while I’m still alive. I must have faith that I will be blessed by time. Maybe I should live this year as if it’s my last. that gives me more breathing time but still keeps a fire under me.
What can I do in a year? How can live to my fullest if I were to only have a year?
What could I accomplish?