I know you’ve been wondering how I was and where I was and whether or not I was sitting in a pile on the floor wearing a yellow survivor’s ribbon and punching survivor fists in the air – all through an uncontrollable rush of tears. And, yeah, that’s pretty much it. I feel exactly like Westley in the Princess Bride when Count Rugen sucked one year of his life away. I’m not even kidding. If you want to know how chemo feels – my particular chemo, and my particular reaction to it – that’s how it feels. Cue the crying.
But one particular moment when I cried, I was on my bed, and I felt like I cried on a bed of princess pillows with a canopy overhead and a beautiful day just outside the castle tower. I felt like the only thing wrong in the world was how I was feeling, and everything else was you and my other friends, and my children and the books I’ve been given and journals and other gifts. All happiness, all around me. I knew it was there, just outside my pain.
And other times I glimpse life outside the torture chamber with the Albino, and I remember all kinds of good things about it, including my ambitions, and I feel happy then too. But it fades so quickly because I don’t feel like doing any of those good things or facing any of those ambitions. And then I cry because I know that I’m not scared of dying; I’m scared of living like this. Living with barely the energy to shower and none of the umph to write a novel and not enough strength to do good, hard work that eventually gets your plans made.
I watched PS I Love You again, and listened so closely to that part I love – the part about how we’re meant to create. And she said, “It doesn’t even matter if it’s a sock or a taco,” just so you put something in the world outside of yourself. Something that wouldn’t have been there without you. And suddenly I remembered that my children totally count for that. And then I became more conscious of what I said to them and how I said it – even what I looked like while I cried, hoping I’m still creating good things in them. Still finishing what I started on the glorious days when they were born.
Which reminds me to thank Charity. She came to visit me in the Chemo Pod again last week and she brought her beautiful husband (he’s a bona fide filmmaker, you know! With TWO entries in the Omaha film festival!) and her beautiful youngest baby and her beautiful memory. Because she remembered according to Michael’s genius plan that if we devote one week of chemo to each of one of my sons, it might help me endure. And so at supper, while everything else was a bit of a chemo fog, I remember our glasses clinking – I remember Dad’s shaved head too, which perfectly matches mine – and I remember toasting to Drew.
So I’m thinking with those glimpses of goodness, and – you know, if Westley could eventually hold a sword again, then I probably needn’t be scared that I will forever live like this. I am, however, going to live. And I can’t wait to start that fun again.
P.S. Drew is on the right in this picture, and coincidentally, he leans extremely creative.