It's 10pm on New Year's eve. It's been a very long couple of weeks with my first trip to the emergency room, the holidays, a week off chemo, and a lung infection.
On a good note, our Christmas was great. Spent time with family and friends, celebrated life with joy in our hearts, and hope for a future filled with love and laughter. Ok, ok, mostly I slept through the holidays, but the parts where I was awake... they were great.
Truthfully, I have had some good days, and some bad days, but that's nothing new I guess.
One first is that I rode in the 'old sick person' mechanical cart at the store. It wasn't as fun as Lili and I thought it would be, but it did help me have enough energy to get some things done! It is difficult to get more and more tired no matter how much I rest. There are so many things that need to be done during the holidays, and I didn't think riding in a store go cart and wearing a face mask to shop would be some of this year's 'firsts.'
Other firsts include spending our first Christmas with Daisy our cool dog, and celebrating new years at camp sionito. My sister Dixie and I drove Lili and our cousin Victoria up to the hill country for a retreat. It has been lovely to enjoy a change of scenery and still get naps, read books, and just hang out. Daisy, our dog, has loved the little cabin and investigating all the new sounds and animals of the country. While I have spent a new year's with my sister, it's probably been over 35 years since it happened. We mostly have discussed if we think we can stay awake until midnight.
The other firsts include... my first Christmas with cancer, my first new year's with cancer, my first time to really evaluate my new year's resolutions without the word diet.
It's been difficult to feel bad physically, but the real pain is mental. The past two weeks I have written a million blog entries in my mind, but they never seem to make it to the computer/page. It is just too much sometimes to see it all in black and white, you know, the words cancer and me/Rhonda in the same sentence seem impossible, yet very real.
A good friend of mine has endured amazing losses in her short life. Some of her losses seem impossible for me to comprehend. I asked her one time how she faced some of her darkest days, she replied with "I never say, Why me? I only say, Why not me?" It seemed logical when she said it; noble and strong, yet human and real. In the past two months I have said, "Why not me?" about a million times. It soothes me some of the time and other times I just want to scream... "Hey... I have lots of things to do and I don't have time to be sick."
Recently I read some writings from a caregiver for a cancer patient. She was commenting on how many times she heard people say, "If you have your health you have everything." After watching her husband go through difficult battles with cancer, she said, "NO, it's wrong. It's not if you have your health you have everything." I was stunned when I read her comment, as health was always one of those things people wished one another at holiday time and new years. I probably had even said those exact words myself and meant it ("If you have your health you have everything.")
I went on to read her explanation as to why she thought that statement wasn't true. Paraphrasing, she said people have everything when they HAVE cancer and they HAVE someone who loves them in the midst of the struggle. If you have someone who still wants to hold hands, to love you, to share the journey with all it's bumps and turns, THEN you have everything. I was speechless. I agree with her, 'having it all' has a new meaning now.
It's not IF we encounter loss and struggle, it's WHEN. It's not good fortune to avoid all hurt and pain. Life always has, and always will, include illness, struggle, loss, and anguish. We have everything when we are someone's beloved and have a companion for the journey.
While I am so thankful to be surrounded by the love of Lili, my family and my friends, I am still seeking my beloved for this life's journey. I still pray for 1000's of healthy days to share with all of you, but even more I pray my beloved finds me so we can enjoy a whole new season of firsts.
'To everything there is a time and a season.' Make the season bright and live some 'fantastic firsts' this new year.
PS. The photo is of my first Christmas 1964. My sibs and I are getting our first glimpse of what Santa brought! I'm the little one with the 'I forgot my dentures look.'