In the week after I was told I had no evidence of cancer, a classmate of my sister's died. I assume from cancer. My cousin died after a routine gall bladder surgery. Both were far too young. I was left wondering how things worked the way they did--why am I still here and others are not? What does this mean?
One of my wise friends mentioned to me that she had decided I'd been forced to join a club to which most folks don't want to belong. I'd always been aware of being in that "club" of parents who had lost a child, another club to which no one wants to belong, but I hadn't thought of having "the cancer" as being forced to join that club no one really wants to join.
And because she is a statistical type of thinker, she also mentioned that not only was I in the "cancer club," I was also in the subset of "survivors," where of course, we all want to be. But that brings it's own set of stresses and not everyone gets that privilege.
These things were on my mind as I was walking into the labyrinth, that I didn't know why I was blessed to have made it into the survivors club, that I was extremely grateful for the privilege, even while I was filled with sorrow for those I knew whose lives had ended way too soon. Life just isn't fair and I can't explain or understand why these things worked out the way they did.
I decided that day that "why" is a useless question, at least where things like life and death and the number of days we are allotted is concerned. I wanted to go back and ask my friends what they thought about the value of why as a question, but we got off on other things and I forgot all about it.
Fast forward to today, while I was reading backwards in a "daily book" that I read, looking for quotes to put in my calendar, in an attempt to add color and depth to the pages.
On July 15th, I was told there was no evidence of cancer. I was also told they would see me again in October. So, occasionally, when I pass on the news that "I am all clear," I whisper silently to myself words like, "at this moment," or "as far as I know now." The prospects of having to go back in October, and again, every three months for three years, and then every six months for two more years before I could be really declared "cured" weighed heavily on me. I joked that I was now that I was declared "clean," that I could now go out and start living again. In three month increments. Of such things are the stresses of the survivors (but I'll take that stress, I'm not complaining, just trying to figure things out in my head).
Anyway, somehow, during that walk into the center of the labyrinth, the weight of those three month increments was lifted and I came to realize how I just need to take my life one day at a time, and not waste a minute of it worrying about what might be. We all get what we get in terms of days to live.
Okay, I'm rambling here! Today, on the July 15th page of this "daily book," there was this quote. I don't know how it didn't scream "I'm significant!" on July 15th when I first read it. Maybe I hadn't heard the good news yet, I don't know.
But it seems to be a good philosophy for me to employ any time I let the "three month increment" blues take over.
"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy." Thornton Wilder