I too, have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

“Whose woods these are I think I know.   His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here TO watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must find it queer to stop without a farmhouse near between the woods and frozen lake the darkest evening of the year.

He give his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake.  The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. ”

Dear friends of my Mom and Dad’s became my second family while I was growing up.  It was always so nice to visit Floyd and Frances Marlatt and their children who were my second set of siblings.  We were always welcomed with open arms.  Whenever there was an occasion worth celebrating or noting, the Marlatts and the Duffs would “note” it.

That did not change when my parents passed away.  Floyd and Frances continue to treat me as their “other” daughter.  I was adopted.  Of course there is no substitute for my own Mom and Dad, but this couple has definitely helped my brother and I to get through some very difficult times – even when they themselves faced adversities.

Yesterday, I received an email from Frances which contained this poem by Frost.  It could not have been more appropriate as the poem said exactly what I couldn’t.  How Frances knew this was what I wanted or needed to hear – I’ll never know.  I guess one may call it second mother’s intuition?

You see – yesterday was not an easy day for me.  I try to keep a positive mindset and, for the most part, can do that.  Sometimes, however, the realities of cancer get the better of me.  My need to be far away from anyone who is ill causes many cancellations and yesterday was no exception.  My friend, Amy, who I have not seen for so long, and I had been planning a get together for months – and it was scheduled to happen yesterday.  She had been cooking and planning like crazy.  That morning, however…. boom.. her son developed cold.  And like that – all cards were layed on the table – the gathering was cancelled.  Cancer is a bitch.  Yup.  No two ways about it.

Last night, my cousins from Ottawa called with a suggestion that they may come to visit this week-end.  That happens to fall on “Day 5” – post chemo (not good).  I know I’ll be wiped.  End of story.  No visit.  Cancer is a bitch.

No Vandie, no Anne, no Liam.  No, no, no to anyone who has been in contact with someone who is ill.  No eating out, no shopping in the mall for Christmas, no movies  No, no, no to every activity that exposes me to crowds – in case someone is ill.  No junk food, no wine, no hot food either.  No, no, no to things that are not healthy or will cause my stomach to turn on me.

There has just been too many, “no’s” lately that have lead to disappointment.  I try, try, try to be patient and wait until it is safer for the “yes”.  It frustrates me.  I am sad for the kids and feel like I will disappoint them if I am not doing what I normally do.  I am tired of cancellations.  I want to go, go, go and do, do, do!  But it seems there is so much stop, stop stop.

It has passed, however, the darkest evening of the year.  I want to believe that I too have passed the darkest part of this cancer journey – and maybe that is true.  Maybe the hardest part is the “Stopping”.   Sometimes I feel like life is on hold.  I try to live and to remember the words of wisdom shared with me by others:  you don’t need to “do” Stacey, you just need to “be”.  It makes sense and I like the idea of “being” and “being in the moment”.  It is more difficult to actually practice.

The best part of my day, yesterday, was “being” in the car with my three children who were driving me for my blood-work.  Ben and Katya were talking about music and Ben played “Sir Harry Lauder” on his phone.  To the chorus of  “A Wee Deoch an’ Doris” sang the three of them and I.  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X_3N6pcXBw) Oh,  my Dad would have been smiling at that!  What a unique lot they are – what joy they bring me!  This was my “watching the woods fill up with snow” moment.

I know I have promises to keep too.  And I too have miles to go before I sleep.  I am not ready to lay down the gauntlet yet.  Far from it.  There are days, however, when I am tired.  A rest is what I need – and to not plan anything.  I need to learn it is okay to be on hold and live in the “present” for a while.  I know that.  I am trying.

I am listening, Floyd and Frances, to your wisdom send through Robert Frost.

I will keep my promises.  And I will find my way through the woods.  Until then, however, I will just stop by.  And then – I will be on my way.

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About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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6 Responses to I too, have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep

  1. Gwen K says:

    Glad that angels, Floyd and Frances were able to speak to you yesterday. You are thought of daily by many and we all send our love and support for you during this long journey.

  2. kiwiskan says:

    a beautiful quote. God bless you this Christmas

  3. Stacey I’m so sorry for the things you’ve had to cancel. But on the bright side……you knew it was coming…..IMAGINE the wonderful hugs that are waiting when you go running headlong in to the arms of your friends and family as you all break loose of these colds and flus and cancer bonds and embrace in health and love. 🙂 ❤

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Angels are at work indeed. Here I am on the other side of the world, sitting at my computer, listening to the dawn chorus with one ear attuned to my mother as she makes her way through a restless night. ‘Miles to go before I sleep’ so appropriate for both of us. Thank you for passing on the gift of those words. There you are; you are sitting trying to ‘be’, frustrated by the ‘no’ factors and yet look what you have done….made a difference thousands of miles away. May the light that is the Christ child be with you and your family this Christmas.

  5. Thank you, Stacey, for honouring my parents with your kind words.
    We think of you every day, and as you know we too have seen this journey up close and very personal. This time we know we have reason for hope, even certainty. Miles to go before we sleep.

    • inmycorner says:

      Yes – I do know. I am so very aware that you have been down this road before. I think that is why I so much appreciate that you are willing to trod on this path – which will turn in a different direction (she says with confidence) once again.

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