My friend Sally works with people who have cancer as well as people who are dying. She told me recently that the one thing that people who recover from cancer tell her is that they want to live the way they started living when they thought they might die. They want to remember what they love. They want to remember what is most important to them. They want to keep seeing through eyes that see the miraculous over and over. And they tell her that it’s so easy to forget to look, see, feel that way when they are well. And that used to be my experience: having been in a few major car accidents, having lost our money, having almost died from anaphylactic shock during a CT scan, I’d come out of those experiences wanting to kiss the ground, wanting to realize how miraculous a morning is, wanting to hear the music in the sound of a friend’s voice. And then I’d forget. But then cancer came along and something shifted. It wasn’t just the cancer; it was realizing that if that could happen, anything could happen. I wasn’t immune. I wasn’t special. And then of course the pandemic arrived. And then the fires, smoke, inability to breathe outside. And somehow, somehow, as challenging as it is, all these things are like bells reminding me to come back, come back to this body, this moment, this life. And to ask myself, over and over, how is this and this and this an answer to my prayer.
To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here. Open the Monthly Archives to view individual Cancer Chronicle posts, which began in July 2020.
To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here.