we have to insist on shaping our future, in our minds and seeing all the very real and best possibilities, without resort to metaphysics. And knowing perfectly well and accepting age.
But still seeing the future, for what it could be. Not for what we fear it will not be.
And we have to help each other do that. Day in and day out. All of us.
So all in all it was as it should be on X-mas even, or as we wanted it to be despite various tests (baby fits, chemo therapy, tired from work).
But I think it always works out like that if you are minded for it. Not in a ‘let’s-push-this-through-despite-everything’-frame of mind. More like a ‘let’s-take-it-easy-and-wait-and-see-and-give-each-other-some-room’-mind.
That’s good to remember, also on other evenings.
What it is that we can come closer to that makes life stronger, despite the outward signs that it becomes frailer and closer to an ending?
What is it that makes life worth living for, even more?
I have an ex-friend who has now more or less walled himself in. He sits in his apartment all day long. He is a pensioner. He has the occasional cancer-scare, too.
He has some reasons, yes, but overall it has, I will argue, been his own choice to give up and just wall himself in and not reach out for any other life qualities than safety.
Which he can never completely have? How safe is it sitting and watching TV and waiting not to get cancer?
Maybe he won’t get it, but in terms of having a good life experience I think my mother is better at finding that path that makes her life feel stronger, despite all the shadows that chase it.
We can only wait and see, but the important thing to me is that even though I feel personally (and I would never argue this to my mother) that it had been best to let it go without chemo, since this is her choice (as it should be) there may be an important gain here.
There may be a blessing in disguise here. Something that we can call out, if we want to, and if she doesn’t get to ill and too obsessed with being ill from chemo and what to do for daily relief.
And I’m putting a big parenthesis around the fact that we may – may – have bought her x number of more years to live. We will never know that. But if cancer ever resurfaces she will be more ready, I believe. She will also, importantly, know she has done what she could.
The opposite side of that coin is to feel cursed, of course. But avoiding a guilt trip if your life is threatened again, that is more important now. As is finding a place for this ghost in our souls.
I believe the path my mother has chosen now can be useful to find that place. It may lead to even more and more blessed places I cannot yet imagine.
But first we have to deal with the everyday illness and insecurity and Christmas and all the practicalities that arise from poisoning your cells in order to achieve a result worth the pain.
And so we will.
Maybe my mum doesn’t want that kind of ambiguity when talking about her post-cancer operation treatment options, because I don’t give her straight answers and tell her one course, just as she is not comfortable with my brother’s very straight-forward directness about what he definitely things she should do.
Maybe she just wants things to go on as normal, forever. Unfortunately, that is a wish nobody can fulfill.
So we will have to do our best to make the time until forever starts, as beautiful as possible.
Whatever choice my mother makes there will always be uncertainty for me, and probably for the rest of us as well. Chemo won’t kill that. The chances of her surviving until 80 or 75 or 85 aren’t really as important – really – as the quality of time that we spend together and the quality of time she makes for herself until she needs to leave this dimension … It is a choice of how to live best that does not really require an answer to how long we will live or whether or not my mother decides to have chemo or not.
It is a choice about how to empower and uplift and improve relations. And that is always something that should be in focus, although sadly it rarely is until the demand is great.
But I feel empowered even so. I feel encouraged thinking about all the things I can do to share some beauty and joy and power, no matter what turn events take.
A very difficult and delicate balance, which I have often written about, and I will do so again. But it is important to keep in mind. Especially in situations such as this, where you are fearing for a loved one and pondering scenarios and outcomes and consequences whilst trying to live your daily:
Always try to keep a good balance between thinking and letting go and doing – something else. It is excruciatingly difficult but it is the only way – the only focus. Otherwise you tend to veer off towards extremes, like depression or suppression – which is kind of the same thing really.
So again I take a deep breath and go for balance.
I go home again and snap some more pictures of little toddler Jay for my mom.
There are worse ways to cope with a potentially deadly illness in the family.
We have just been reminded, in our hearts, what we knew in our minds: That my mother can get cancer, like anyone – again.
And the fear that she is somehow ‘especially prone’ to the illness, I suppose.
That new, starker, more resonant fear will not go away anytime soon, only be dimmed by time and need to live. And live well.
I guess we will have to find ways to enhance that need to live well, as an opposition to that fear which can probably never be eradicated, even if my mother is cured this time and never has another sick-day – until the final day.
Opposition or balance in our life experience to the things we cannot change. Or: Light a fire to keep us hopeful in the dark.
Its’s an old truth, but it might as well be lived again.
I have to accept it’s going to be back and forth emotionally from now on and I have to show that to others and remind them of that as well – especially my mother. Both experiences are okay and natural, but we have to – have to – continue to move between them. Never stop. Especially not in the valley.
this date I will call to check on my mother, and she will sound … happy.
Despite the new cancer-threat.
Or at least … in “good spirits”, as they say.
Not denying reality, but not sounding like it’s about to break either.
I believe that despite her frailty in some situations, my mother has gotten a lot stronger over the years. Especially after surviving one bout of cancer in 2003 but also in general.
I don’t know if this signifies anything, but on a day like that it will be enough for me.
One practical consequence of being called up and told your mother probably has cancer is to see things that seemed awfully important awhile ago … aren’t.
Also important to try to tear each others’ heads off, after lack of sleep …
But not so now.
I was already in a semi-crisis mode and perhaps that is the reason I feel strangely quiet inside now that the news is out that my mother may have cancer again … and not slipping further down the ladder, although that may yet come. But I feel quiet inside – so far. No panic. Just a great sadness and heaviness. I am so sorry too for my mother and my father, if that makes any sense … but I so deeply wish they could have and will have more happiness.
I don’t believe life is unjust as such, although it definitely is hard and people die and suffer and die some more. But I do believe and feel there is Light beyond and a meaning and coherence to all things, which we can feel part of now if we direct out attention towards it. That is my world view and it hasn’t changed.
But it will have to serve me well now, and I will have to put it into action, without hiding the truth. That, as it is for all people, this is a deep shadow. It may become even deeper.
We will have to be much light to journey through it and still come out whole.