Life can be confusing under the best of circumstances. The difficulties usually lie quietly in the words we choose to communicate, as ideas and thoughts can become muddled in the midst of single words and sentences. My wish is to explain, or deconstruct, many words I have written, so that those reading them can understand my mindset a little bit better. Please don’t fret and worry when I write about being set free. I see and feel the anguish many of you are experiencing when reading those words. The wide eyes, the sad expression on the lips, tells more than any questions you can offer. In my mind, being set free is as far from letting go into death as a mile is from an inch. At this point in my journey, I have no intention, or need to “walk the mile”. I will gladly take my inch. So what are my intentions and thoughts behind being set free? I have ruminated, prayed, and spun in my grief to come up with the answer that fits my entirety well enough to call it my own. To be free in my mind, my heart and my soul means to be free of the expiration date slapped on my body at a time unbeknownst to me. Freedom is living in this moment and being able to see the deep green color of the pine trees with each branch and each needle taking it’s own space in time. It is seeing the glory of fall’s colors, bright reds, oranges and yellows glistening in the sun on each maple tree. It is the ability to ask myself in wonderment how can such beauty exist? It is in the ability to stand outside with my dogs and notice the scent of the wondrous wet earth beneath my feet as it sits freshly dusted by a gentle rain, and feel the moist dew on my skin. Cool and fresh it reminds me, I am still here. It is sitting quietly with my dogs and having my heart swell with love, feeling their soft skin on my hands, and feeling loved beyond the measure of words. Tomorrow may or may not come. Tomorrow may be beautiful and filled with the magic and beauty of life, or an epic struggle to simply breathe and understand pain from morning until night. Tomorrow can only count in tomorrow’s moment. I am allowing myself to live today, in the singularity of a moment, and feeling joy in that moment. This my friends is being set free. I am free of the minutia and small thoughts that my diagnosis drug me to kicking and screaming. I am free from mourning my own passing on behalf of myself and the people I love, because every minute spent on that is a minute not spent living now. I am free to live, and live well, for as long as I do, and that is the freedom I have granted myself. The best advice I can give to anyone, whether you live a long life, or short life, is to live as if every moment is so extraordinary that the end no longer matters, it is of no consequence to the here and now. Live, and love……..rejoice, because life is beautiful regardless of time.
I knelt quietly upon my knees and asked my broken body, what do you need?
My body only shuttered, for it could no longer lead.
I set my head down and I prayed through my tears, dear Lord, what can I do? What will heal me?
No miracle would come, the answer was a simple prayer that could only set me free.
If my body cannot heal, then what is left?
It was time for my mind, heart and soul to simply shift.
Time is of essence, and the work must begin, for the quiet parts of me to prepare for the inevitable toll.
What is this work ahead of me? What of this is my ultimate role?
The answers crept in, slowly and elusively, as if hiding for me to seek.
If I look to the right and look to the left, the future only seems bleak.
Turn inward I heard in a quiet whisper to my soul,and quiet your mind.
Let your heart and your soul search through your time.
It is time to forgive, it is time to release,
It is time to let go and let God bring you peace.
Hold on tight, and time’s thread will only burn your hands,
It is time to let go, it is time to release all demands.
Now my work is set, it is time to practice the hardest lesson of all,
It is time to let God, so I do not fall.
I asked my broken body one more time, what do you need?
She simply responded, love me enough to set me free.
Some of you may know that I have been working on writing a book for a few years now. It’s been a huge challenge to get this book buttoned up and finished, as life has sent my eyes looking in many other directions over the years. My hope is that this blog will help me get my book in order, and finally published. In thinking of my book, and intentions about it, I gave some deep thought to the gratitude I feel that I still have the time and opportunity to finish it, and publish some of its pages to this blog. Life is so busy, and there are infinite reasons to not pay attention to the many gifts life presents to us. One in particular is gratitude. I know there a million memes, and sayings floating throughout every spectrum of available media regarding gratitude. I hope that this post will give you cause to stop, even for just a minute and give it some serious thought. Gratitude is one of life’s most precious gifts, and through it, we discover true hope and faith. Does that mean that life will be idyllic if we practice living in gratitude? Unfortunately, it will not, and that is not the answer. What does it really give us? It allows us to discover the truly magical sense of life that is usually hidden behind busy lives and thoughts. Even in the most dire of circumstances (and yes, I now own the “C” card and feel that I have the right to speak of dire circumstances), gratitude for the things in life that still remain constant and safe gives us hope. Even if our gratitude can only be limited to this one moment, this very second, that we can still take a breath……then we still have the precious possibility of at least another, and at most, finding joy around us. Even in the grief and sadness I have found in the thought of leaving my loved ones, I can still find gratitude in that I do love, and am loved, and will be loved. That alone can turn my eyes back toward the here and now, and reminds me how precious and lovely my life is. Here is my poem Eulogy. Don’t be fooled by its name. I hope you find the gratitude in these written words that I intended to uncover.
In my childhood dreams I lose myself,
Memories and wishes once put on a shelf.
Who was I then, so long ago?
A child, a daughter, sister, friend and foe.
Dreams of life filled with yearning for love,
So many lifted away as if on winged dove.
Some came to be through life’s unfold,
Some would never become, or ever be told.
Eyes that glistened with untold promise,
Wishes and dreams never to abolish.
Would I learn the meaning of being a true friend?
Always to stay near, even to a bitter end?
Hopes of being a mother, of one, two or three,
Filled with laughter and cheer, on my bent knee.
A wish of making my father proud,
Hope of carrying his burdened shroud.
If these wishes are hopes and dreams to come true,
Will I remember them, or begin to think them new?
These dreams draw me back, and bring me around to see,
A child filled with hope, that child is still me.