I am not sad to be by myself. Being alone gives me an opportunity to recharge my batteries. My brain can rest. My body can rest. My soul, I think, is busy.
One would never know how busy it really is by the looks of things. It is busy growing, aging, maturing. I wish it wouldn’t… it knows too much. There is much more sheer joy in a young soul. And I feel mine is old. Today, I feel like a 70 year old soul trapped in a 60 year old’s body – and I’m just a wee bit older than 50. Dealing with cancer day in and day out has aged me. I have not lost my joie de vivre, don’t get me wrong. But I feel that I have shifted my priorities and settled into retirement in all sense of the word. I am now at a point where I am inclined to need “self actualization”. I need to create legacy. I need to pass on “myself”, the things I have learned to others. It doesn’t have to be big – it just needs to happen. And so, in this solitude, I give pause to action to reflect on what it is that I can actually pass along.
I cook. I can write down my recipes in a journal, like my mother did for me.
I clean. Well, no one likes to do that so much.
I sing. No. I don’t anymore. Sad. I used to love to sing but the chemo seems to have taken my voice away from me. I guess in more ways than one.
I used to act. I used to love school plays. That was then and this is now. No acting now.
I write. Maybe this blog will become my legacy? Maybe my thoughts can inspire someone, someday to do something great? Or maybe not even great, but maybe not feel alone.
I taught. Yes. I did. I loved my profession. I know I learned more than I taught when I was a teacher. If I didn’t learn, I didn’t feel I had a good day. The lessons were often profound. I used to judge those who used drugs or alcohol until I learned that sometimes drugs and alcohol helped students to stay at school. Not that that was a good solution, but it was a quick fix to achieve a goal that needed to be achieved quickly and easily. I learned of the power and resiliency of so many of my students as I watched them struggle to deliver their children (by city bus) before school, then walk to school, then struggle through learning disabilities to learn, to have courage to take risks which could hamper their self esteem or trigger panic attacks. They juggled family, school, work, mental health issues, physical illnesses, financial woes… Yes. I learned how tough life could be and how privileged I was/ am.
That was maybe the best lesson I ever learned: count my blessings.
I am grateful. Truly. When I think about where I am in life, how I’ve scraped together an extra two years of life thanks to modern medicine and my own personal circumstances which include incredible community and family support, I feel grateful.
What I struggle to do these days is stay in the moment. I am not able to plan for the future, yet I think about it a lot. What will it look like? Will I be healthy? Will I still be able to care for my family? And will I be cooking for them as a bald mamma or haired mamma? Funny how the presence of hair makes a difference. I read that chemo ages you 10 years. That means I’m 20 years old than I am on paper. This explains the growing “girth” that I have and why my energy level is so damned low. What will I look like after another round of chemo? Is there a time when hair just stops coming back in?
My solitude allows me to contemplate life. I’ve had a wonderful life. There have been many challenges, yet, I see my life as being very good. I see the challenges as blips on the radar although they have changed the course of my life totally. I guess I ought, then, to see cancer as a blip too. Maybe from now on, I’ll refer to cancer as a blip. I will, from now on, explain to people that I have stage 4 blips. And my depression is not depression, it is a “day 5”. Blips have day 5’s too. That’ll throw people off totally. They’ll think I’ve gone nuts. Oh well, that may not be far off the mark.
We all enter this world alone and we will all depart this world alone. Being alone is not bad. It’s just nice to have someone by your side, together, sharing life. For this, I have Kevin. I feel badly when I speak to him about the things that trouble my heart. The unloading of my blips is likely heavy. I don’t want him to take up my load. I’m not sure what he does with it. And I worry. My Dad used to unload to me after Mom died. I didn’t mind, but my heart was often heavy afterwards. I felt his pain. I felt his sorrow. “You are the only one I can talk to now, Stacey”, he would say to me. Then, I didn’t understand. Now I do. Now, I have one person with whom I can talk to, who has the same shared history as me, the same path as me. I wonder if Kevin feels my pain too, feels my sorrow? I hope not. That is a heavy price to pay. But we also share so many joyous occasions, too.. including the birth of three beautiful souls in our children. What blessings they have been to us.
Solo. Solitude. So-lo-ne. Words have always intrigued me. I love to make puns. This is another thing that Kevin and I have in common. We have earned ourselves a bit of a reputation, in fact, as punners. Will “this” be my legacy? “Stacey was so very punny.” Hmm. Maybe. Dad, in the few weeks before his death had concluded his purpose in life was to make people happy. He did. His jokes were often more groaners than anything, but he had a way of making people smile. I wonder, what is my purpose? I need more time to reflect on that.
It would seem, however, that now is not the time to think about any other purpose than house-work, and paper work. The “rest” is over. My mind is waking, my body is waking, and my soul is coming along for the ride. It is time, in my solitude to wish my readers a “solo-ng” for now.