I used to live in blissful ignorance. Way back in the day, when my eyes were more innocent, I saw the good in the days ahead. Hope pranced through wildflowers. The sweet aroma of optimism filled the air. Endless possibilities danced on a gentle spring breeze. To be young and foolish. To slip on those rose coloured glasses and stumble around with style, if not grace.
It seems like a lifetime ago! Time, it sure does fly, but this is a little ridiculous. I blinked. That’s it. I blinked and it was over. That day, that very special day, is all but a memory. The day I allowed myself to think that all would be well in the land. Yes, that was a good day. I actually allowed myself, for a brief moment, to feel recklessly optimistic. Ah, the hope and wonder of the good old days are sorrily missed.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to go back to Monday!
I woke up that day with so many plans floating around in my head. Things I wanted to write. Words I wanted to put down on the page. Ideas came at me so hard and fast that I think they created their own electrical force. Clearly, I’m not a scientist but that’s what it felt like and I was pumped. It usually feels like I’m trying to milk an almond with a toothpick but not that day. No, that day I thought I would spend the week writing word, after word. Maybe I’d get ahead of myself and bank a few posts just in case something happened. Never hurts to get a little ahead.
I thought I’d weed out my flower pots and plant some seeds. Should I plant something pretty or something practical? Flowers, fruit, or veggies? It’s a small and humble garden, out there on my little deck, but it still has so much potential. All I need to do is go out there, put my back into it for a few minutes, and wait to reap my rewards.
Baking bread. Trying to make pasta from scratch. Domesticity that would make a 1950s housewife feel like a slacker. I had plans. I made a list and stuck it to my fridge. The fridge! Sticking something to the fridge is a serious business. Only the most important things get stuck to the fridge. Those are the rules and rules are rules.
I started out so strong. I wrote a post on Monday and had it up with time to spare. I got some topsoil to add to my flower pots. I even got flour for my kitchen pots. (See what I did there? Made myself chuckle.) Let’s do this thing! Ready… Set… Vomit everywhere. Huh, weird but maybe it was a one-off. My digestive system has a software glitch. It randomly expels its contents for no apparent reason. One minute I’m feeling fine and the next I’m running for safety.
I’ve had it checked. No one knows why.
Except the expulsion didn’t fix my nausea and things started coming out the other end with the power of a jet engine. The glitch has turned into a system-wide failure. Perfect! Gastroenteritis is just nifty. So much for my quest to become a domestic goddess but I can still put words on a piece of paper. This week won’t be a complete sh!t show.
Did I tempt fate? Did I do it? I suppose you could argue that I did, indeed, poke the beast with a splinter. One might even say I irritated its sensitive bits. Enough for it to unleash its full might? Yes, it would seem so.
I was playing with my dog, who’s normally very gentle, and he mistook my wrist for his toy. He chopped down so hard that he managed to severely bruise the tendons in my wrist. I can barely open and close my fist. I can’t pick up anything heavier than a roll of toilet paper. (Yeah, I have toilet paper. Humblebrag.) My thumb has become a decorative feature rather than a practical appendage.
Well, this puts a dent in my plans.
Gastroenteritis sucks. An injured hand is a nuisance. It’s not how I envisioned this week going, but I can still salvage the next few days. I can stay close to a toilet, and I can type with my left hand. The flower beds can wait and so can the baking. Hey, at least I have something to look forward too!
That’s me, trying to hold onto the glimmer of optimism that so rarely graces me with its resplendent beauty. I wanted to believe that this week would be amazing. I wanted to believe, at the very least, that it would be good. I wanted to believe that this week would see us all crawling out from the gloom because the malaise is exhausting. I needed to believe that good would come but my wishful thinking was skewered by a red hot spear.
What happened next was expected but death isn’t something we can ever be ready to face. She was too young, too precious, to go so soon. A gentle soul whose tender heart had taken a beating. Her life had been harder than she deserved, but her impact on those of us who were lucky enough to know her is immeasurable. She was so creative that I’d call her a genius and no, that’s not hyperbole. She was brilliant, special, and loved. She fought so hard to live but in the end…Cancer is a monster.
I’ve lived through this moment quite a few times. I’ve buried a lot of friends over the years. It comes with the territory, I guess. Chronic illness, specifically organ failure, has a high mortality rate. I’ve grown used to death’s company, but we haven’t become friends just yet. Death is a reality I know but it doesn’t matter how hard I try to prepare myself for this moment. It doesn’t matter how ready I feel. When the moment comes? I can prepare my head for the pain but I cannot prepare my hears. It hit, and it takes my breath away.
All of us experience it differently and none of us feel like we get it right. There’s no right way to act or feel. Laugh. Cry. Scream. Fall silent or go numb. The feelings come in waves and some are so overwhelming that they pull us under. Catching our breath, even for a second, is a welcome relief but the waves swell and down we go. Hold on though, because we can ride it out into calmer waters. There will always be calmer waters out on the horizon if we keep paddling.
I guess I’m still trying to hold onto that optimism.
I’m sitting at home, staring at the screen, trying to write these words but I’m feeling a little waterlogged. This week started out so strong, so full of hope, but now it’s Friday and my heart is heavy. To say this was a bad week would be an understatement. Horrible, no good, very bad…Yeah, I just copied words from a thesaurus, but none of them do justice to these feelings. They don’t do justice to the gravity of this moment or this week. Words, on this occasion, just might be meaningless.
How about we say that it just sucks? What else can I say? I’m at a loss. I’ve ridden this wave before, so I know it won’t always feel like this. Time will heal the wound. It won’t fill the void but that void will reflect all happy memories and funny moments. We’ll say her name and smile. We’ll remember her and be grateful for the time we had because we were lucky to have her in our lives. For now, though, we ride the wave until we find still waters.
No, life won’t be the same after this, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be okay. It might even be amazing but for now? This no good, terrible, horrible week just plain sucks.
Be at peace my friend. Rest easy.
So sorry for your loss: of a friend, of the opportunity to share this post with her, of plans, of excitement & joy, of the use of your thumb,…. each injury heaped upon the last into a messy pile of pain. Hold on to the hope that better days & weeks are ahead.