When I was 15 I lost my hair, a bunch of weight and for a while my faith in just about everything. The medieval approach to dealing with Cancer was what you got in the later 80’s. It took a good group of friends to bring back my faith. I was lucky that group expanded for a while, because later that year my faith was tested again. Death touched my doorstep in a very personal way and it caused me to forget everything we had fought for over the last 9 months.
Fast forward until we reach right now, and I’m back to the no hair routine, lost some weight and my faith has been tested again. Only this time I don’t have the energy of a bunch of teenagers rallying around me. Sure I spend some time with kids thanks to my niece and periodic calls to my nephew, but this time I’m getting ready for a different outcome. It’s not just about leaving a job or relationship. I didn’t get rid of a car I’ve had forever and feel some nostalgia for the memories hidden under the seats. This time I’m getting ready for leaving everything behind, not to return.
I’m dying. And that phrases rings in my head more so because I saw the musical Godspell when I was a high school senior and it was a reoccurring theme throughout. So there are times when I leave a building or group of people and it is the last time I will be around them. It’s not the same as before because this time I’m not as naive. That faith I need to hold onto just has been tested too much these past 18 months.
The looks on people’s faces when you say that you are wondering about what happens next. Is it really possible for me to be with my daughter again? Will I get a chance to stand before someone and plead my case for saving what is left of my sole? And just as importantly, can I get a nice Chai Tea while I’m waiting your decision? (I miss those at times, they rip up my stomach now!)
There’s no timetable I’m working on, no date circled on the calendar to let me know I should be ready. I’m enjoying the time I get right now, even if it is what a sports guy would call garbage time. The fun stuff isn’t possible, so we’re letting the secondary ideas take over. Explore something new for a bit? That is if my body is up to it on any given day.
Plenty of people in my position talk about being ready. I’m not, I’m actually sort of angry. I’m angry that all these months have been joyless and painful. I miss the feeling of running. I miss the feeling of my ex’s head on my shoulder [I sometimes just need to know that she is okay]. And mostly I just miss feeling anything positive. Little things I try to strangle with my grasp slip through because I want to stay in some moment of happiness that is lingering.
The difference between those friends of my youth and the people around me now? Those kids saw, or maybe prayed for, a future. One that didn’t require death touching them. Even when it did later, they held onto me and made sure I didn’t fall further. Now most people are so worried about getting pulled into some nasty situation, they avoid it. Run from it. Run from me.
My wish is something simple. I just want to spend one day without thinking about the past. Not having it touch me in some manner throughout 24 hours of life. I’m scared for what comes next and I’m scared that all that remains is unpleasant. For me it is the hardest thing to admit, being scared. Not some false bravado, not smiles through what others know is painful.
It’s times like this that I rely on my daughter’s memory to help me. Those were some of the best days of my life.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If You Leave.”