It seems like only yesterday, I can remember the air in the room was instantly sucked out. The words still lingering in the air….
But here we are TWO years later from the day that they initially said the dreaded words…
To mark the day, I wanted to share a chapter from my second book, Facing Fifty. Be sure to read through to the end! ❤
LIVE LIKE YOU’RE DYING
No, I’m not going to sing you the Tim McGraw song (you’re welcome!) but I will dance you through a melody of life and love and illness.
MyLove hadn’t been feeling well; and began doctoring for something that appeared to be relatively uncomplicated; until the newly assigned specialist spoke the words everyone dreads. “This is cancer”. To say we were shocked to our core is an understatement. The doctor stepped out of the room, before the nurse entered the room to inform us of the “what’s next”, they allowed us (me) several minutes to process. I just sobbed uncontrollably.
In the days that followed, we dove headfirst into the diagnostics that would determine the course of “what’s next”, a myriad of tests and scans and probes. In those days, we shared the battle MyLove was facing with those closest to us. We were transparent and didn’t hide our hurts or our fears and especially not our tears.
One particular evening, we were at a local hangout with friends. Often when we are out, I declare a battle with the jukebox and all who dare to play it. (Do they still call them jukeboxes?) I love most music, my life has always had a soundtrack playing in the background. MyLove also has the love of music and is additionally gifted with a beautiful singing voice, on occasion I can talk him into singing karaoke. Like most karaoke stars, he has a signature song – Desperado by the Eagles. That night, on the jukebox, I played ‘his’ song if only to take him to that place where I know that song glimmers in his eyes and his voice shines. This time was different. This time, the light in his eyes was replaced with tears as he stood up and he took my hand. There, in a crowded bar, we danced like we were the only two people on the planet. Our tears rolled like rivers and we could not have cared less. We were dancing in the fight of his life.
In the weeks to follow, we had big conversations and made BIG decisions. I am weirdly thankful, even in the shittiest of those circumstances. We spoke freely and openly. We became very selfish with our time together and with whom we shared time. MyLove is very generous with his friendships and I have learned so much from him just in bearing witness to his love of others.
Fast forward a handful of weeks and yet, more probes and hospital visits, we returned to the specialist to receive the “what’s next” news. The doctor said the shocking words… “this is NOT cancer!” While we rejoiced, we learned that MyLove has a manageable, yet incurable auto-response disease. I (honestly) was doubtful and fearful and went into, not Mama-Bear mode, but Barracuda mode. I wanted to strike this doctor and berate her for having done this to my family. The sleepless nights, the fears, the tears and the weeks we lost.
It’s only now, with some time and perspective, can I reflect and exhale deeply…
Yes, we sought a second opinion.
Yes, he is on an effective treatment plan and is doing relatively well.
And yes, I continue to look back on that couple solo-spotlight dancing in a crowded bar. I look back at the conversations and decisions we made for US. We spoke deep love and affection, with gut wrenching honesty. We ventilated the negatives in our life, the duality of the “I love you’s” vs. “fuck off’s”.
And yet, to live like you’re dying should not be squandered on the dying. It is in those moments we are truly living. I’m not sure I have many regrets. Certainly, there are things that I wish had ended differently or the wish that I hadn’t hurt people, as well as a handful I wished I had used a few of those ‘fuck off’s”. To have regret means that you wish it had never happened. I have learned more about light while sitting in the darkness. I have learned about life while looking at death.
It is here where I find my longing, perhaps it is also true of you…To dance more with zero cares of what anyone thinks
♥ To be transparent and open, to not hide away my hurts and fears
♥ To be more protective and selfish with my time and with whom I spend time
♥ To defend and strike with venomous force against anyone and everything that dares to rob our joy
♥ To speak more openly and freely the words of truth and love
♥ And to say ‘fuck off’ a little more often