Woman, sixty, and still trying to get it right. Stumbling the path toward the Divine. Discussing things like grandparenting, Waldorf education, child development, nature, human awareness, empty-nesting, breast cancer, and knitting luscious things once in awhile.
Tracy's my girl, and I woke up this morning thinking of these lyrics as I get ready for infusion #10. That means 2 more to go of the chemo drugs that cause more challenging side effects. Two more at the end of 24 weeks total. That is an accomplishment.
And then I head to the mountains for a week. Wonderful friends have gifted me the use of their cabin, and with friends and family I will celebrate this amazing completion.
On the outside, as I trudge the path back to normal life, I am worse for the wear. Bald. No eyebrows or eyelashes. Heavier. Puffed round as a doughboy with edema. Numb hands and feet. Aching bones. Blurry vision and red rimmed eyes. But all this will turn back around.
Look inside and I am sporting a larger, lighter heart. An untroubled soul. And a joy and gratitude for each new day like I've never known. For each new breath there is a hallelujah. I have found the definition of living in the moment. Cancer with all of its stealth and uncertainties has done this for me.
I don't hate cancer. I absolutely don't trust it, and I want it to leave me the hell alone, but I don't hate it. It has been, and continues to be, a knuckle rapping teacher. Maestra Cancer.
Infusion #10 this morning - then I'm going to spend the rest of my day living my juicy life. I'm going to be creative and artistic and laugh a lot. Cause you know, as Tracy Chapman sings: "If not now, then when?"
The sun is setting on your 60th birthday, my friend. My long lost friend. At least I trust the sun is setting because the space between the trees above the creek is darkening. The sun never came out today; instead raindrops and clouds and cool easy wind. Strange party favors for late July.
That light wind is doing its work in the wind chimes - a melancholy happy birthday to you. I sing along with it in my head, a dreamy song, with one more word landing upon each drawn out, measured note. What would the timing on this score read? Infinity over infinity?
A raven sits on that branch over there and calls out occasionally reminding me to smile. He knows how he makes me smile. Our party game.
And that's how simple these moments are on your big six oh. I am simply lying on my bed resting, flushing the most recent chemo drugs from my body, wondering if you even know what this year has looked like for me. Sixty. I was supposed to be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and you were going to meet me for a section. We had big happy plans. "Finally" kind of plans.
Instead you wander the roads, littering the country with discarded truths, hopes, dreams, promises; an old truck at an abandoned campsite. A helicopter search. And I stumble with numb feet into my own new territory, having left behind body parts and confidence. Sluffed off or cut out taking anger and resentment with them. New seams and seamlessness together.
Many gifts have come with this cancer of mine. Peace at the hand of your betrayal. Faith on my knees at night. And gratitude for all those days and years that were good. Gratitude that I know that very gentle side of you and we were blessed with a golden cord. A cord that still tugs and holds tension so I know there is strength at the other end. I've been the whole circle of love, friendship, betrayal, anger and finally peace with your disappearance. Cancer has taught me that it is all very simple. Love. Love is very simple. And forgiveness paramount. To heal my body I must keep love in my heart. And thank the Lord this is an easy thing for me these days. Each moment is a hallelujah.