Leave the heavyness
On the floor beside you
And let air pour in the door slightly open and without loss
Tell me what weighs on your heart.
Nature herself laughs and claps
With thunderous air. Leave your cares
Beneath the eaves and breathe
Inside a forest where you litter
The needle bed with despair.
Allow a friend to sit a bit, just a spell,
Without knowing they’re too close - uncomfortable, hidden in your space.
You know that strange feeling better than black ice.
Unexpectedly, a hand lifts to your cheek
Feel the warmth of surprise.
Who’s to say you didn’t get enough done
Or too few fed today. Fruitfulness forgets to smile
Productivity can’t stand your tanned cheeks
Bright with the sun’s slaps and pinches
Punished for every hand not wrung with worry.
In tombs with spelling errors in the epitaphs
Written in alphabets from the class
We skipped that spring when nothing
Not the rain or the tilted statues
In our overgrown gardens mattered.
What’s on my heart? Did you question
Or simply forget to ask you as you implied
I might dance away from this house,
Where in my delight I fed your soul
With the leftovers of the moonlight.
Terminal illness effects the mind in some not so obvious ways. If you’ve got cancer of any kind certainly you’ve done deep, soul searching, looking for your own priorities and answers to life’s big philosophical questions. Yet even if you’re not terminally ill, there must’ve been times when you thought about some deep stuff, right? I mean thinking is usually what keeps us from sleep. But for those who suffer from many illnesses and not just cancer- take fibromyalgia for instance – the discomfort from pain and aches keeps you from getting comfortable enough to rest your mind and body.
Then there’s a very big mystery of why beyond these two major reasons we with stage 4 incurable can have insomnia. Nights not spent thinking about anything in particular and not physically uncomfortable, but just laying there unable to sleep for no apparent reason. I’ve not seen any science to study this form of insomnia. I have a guess that we really want to not miss any opportunities to live while we’re alive. Does sleep really keep us from those precious hours we could be doing things we can’t do when when are dead? It’s important and restorative for our bodies to heal and our minds to write memories on the big gray hard drive.
Sleep is for the dead, or so I’ve heard it said. And then there’s the little issue of wanting to experience life well rested and in a clear state of mind. Go figure – another paradox.
I’ve spent countless hours in deep meditation. On big questionas about mortality, about the importance of “things” VS. “people”, about letting go of unimportant emotional baggage, and forgiveness of myself, others, the universe and whatever my conception of a spiritual entity is like. I’m not going into that one. It’s been wise to not bring the r-bomb onto the blog (religion is best left with the p-bomb -politics which DO KEEP ME UP most nights because our beloved democracy is coming to a quick end as is my life – with a very screwed up, monstrous, interminable metastatic thing in a house it does not belong inside killing the very body that keeps it alive – it dies with its host).
However, just the simple fact of knowing my disease will kill me someday, that death is not some vague notion of inevitability, my thoughts turn more to dying and what plans I can and cannot make. I assume us stage 4 terminal endurers have these thoughts more often than people who have stage 0 through 3 “curable” cancers. But you tell me in the comments section below since I can only assume what I do not know.
Here’s a list of some things I think about throughout the course of a night:
- Should or shouldn’t I purchase the larger, economy size of soap, shampoo and conditioner? Will I survive long enough to use it all especially having really short hair now?
I wonder if should subscribe to magazines or continue buying them off the shelf.
Is it worth it to buy a new bicycle?
Does my will still make sense?
Should I visit the place I want to be naturally buried under a new born redwood tree in the Santa Cruz mountains or will it make me too upset? Shall I just instruct Craig to do what I want rather than choosing the space in advance?
Do I want to reconsider becoming a marble instead? There’s a company that will take your body, burn it without polluting the environment and mix it with glass to create a beautiful paperweight or set of marbles from your remains. Pretty neat. You can be carried in your widower’s jeans’ pockets along with his keys.
If I’m a marble and Craig dies what would happen to marble me? Will I just wind up in some antique shop along with a bunch of other marbles?
Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin?
Watching a movie or rereading a book seems heretical.
Put the ice cream down or finish this here pint… Oops. Don’t ask for any it’s done.
Did I choose the right adoptive parent and back up parent for my cat-son Simon?
Can I haunt people after I am dead and if I can who should I haunt?
Conversely I’d really want to visit people I love. There’s some serious practical jokes I’d love to play on my OCD husband.
And I’d love to torture his ex wife who spent years trying to break us up and also tells my stepsons I don’t really have cancer I just want to sponge off their dad and I am a gold digger. I wish. I have some lessons she needs to learn in my opinion. And who better than someone she haunted while I was alive!
I’d love to see a few more places and have some experiences yet to do. The northern lights is one. Going back to Paris and France generally and traveling all of the UK. Meeting the people I’ve only been able to interact with on my blog or social media in person to secure my friendships and make them whole. The UK trip will help a lot with that one. There’s a lot more but these stand out.
Can I rent an RV and drive around the US and see my old friends one more time before I die. I don’t have the money and I don’t know if I’ll have the time. I wish they’d be able to come see me. But if I’m not worth their time and money…well should I make an effort? I’ve spent a lot of time filling and u packing a lot of emotional baggage on this one in particular.
Should I get a walk in bathtub? Will that make me an official senior citizen?
Do I continue to keep trying some new somewhat tangential hobbies to my current hobbies? Will I have the time to be good at anything else other than what I’m already good at? Like gardening and growing food for us – there’s a lot to learn and who’d tend fo it when I am dead?
Whats on your list of things that keep you up at night? Can you relate to my list and my thoughts with regards to why we don’t sleep beyond the two big ones – mental and physical pain?
I’m pretty upset with a few people, several companies especially AT&T, and excited about a few activities and people who will visit in the next few months. And nervous about my upcoming radiation treatments on my vertebrae.
That’s just today’s mind antics so on that notes I’m going to go ground myself on the soil outside then go take a nice long bath. Fuck all the chores today. And fuck you cancer.
Reluctantly, Ive decided to share a couple of pages from my sketchbook where I keep my not so very good artwork. I scrawl my emotions out on the pages using colorful pens, pencils, markers, paints, and whatever else handy from my growing art box.
Some days, instead of trying to get my words to fit in an essay, I find it easier to explore more non-traditional forms of journaling. One of my favorite sketches to date was to create a woman’s torso out of the letter “w” beginning the word “why.” It’s a question we probably all ask ourselves occasionally. Not feeling sorry for myself as in “why me?” But more in terms of “why not?” Why aren’t we counted? Why do we still need to die from metastatic cancer?” Why, indeed. Even if you aren’t a great artist like me, just let your colors and your hands do the talking for you. You may find out some things you didn’t even know you were thinking about. It’s visceral and gut level and it’s also a great way to purge negative emotions in a positive way and you just may have some fun.
Go ahead, be a kid and doodle. I’ve taken up trying my hand at mandalas, too. They’re not very good yet, but practicing focuses my mind away from everything and into the art form and coloring in the interesting patterns that emerge. And share them with me here if you decide to create something. I’d love to see what others are using their art journals to express. New ideas to generate ways of thinking about my life and my cancer are such a welcome gift.