I’m quite certain it is impossible for me to describe how very lucky, fortunate, blessed (choose your adjective) I feel to be here on earth. This winter, despite (or because of) “everything”, has been one of the most wonderful, wonder-filled times of my life.
“Why?” you might ask. “Have you traveled to exotic places?” No, I did that in my other life. “Maybe you swam with the dolphins?” Nope, other life too. “I know, you rescued a dachshund to add to your family.” Other life and they’re still living the good life, one now elderly with her heart condition that requires three medications, twice daily as she reminds me. “Well, did you get to watch the birth of a grandchild?” Other life and one is now 22! And me, still just a kid myself!
This winter for the first time in either life, Dan and I have both been home together most of the time every day, the exceptions being his coaching and my one (just one all winter!) trip to Boston for my clinical trial appointment. This winter I’ve been able to get a glimpse of what our retirement might have looked like if our other life had played out as “planned”. While neither of us have been physically able (Dan due to surgery, me -due to the beast) to climb mountains together or even to snowshoe up “our” side of the mountain, we’ve had a wonderful time, simply being. Being together.
I’ve had times when I’ve struggled about the toll the side effects have on my physical self. Treatment, both radiation and powerful targeted therapy drugs, have had immediate and long term effects that for me are just plain hard, yet tolerable. Some do not get the chance to be given a new life as I have. I am grateful. I embrace this drug in my brain. I hope someday lung cancer patients will be able to have treatments that both work and have fewer, less harsh side effects. But for now I understand that treatment is why I have this wonderful new life. I choose life. I cherish this new life. And I continue to work with the treatment to keep my physical self as healthy and strong as I can.
I love this pace of no hurries, no worries we’ve grown into this winter. It allows me to observe the world around me, truly and thoroughly. Whether it is the birds and squirrels at the feeders, the deer passing through the backyard, the little ermine that hides (lives?) in the brush pile, the goats and dachshunds that provide endless hours of entertainment, the grandchildren, hearing my father-in-law’s stories, the basketball stories and passion of Dan the coach, the discovery of playing with mixed media art, reading or listening to books (The Moth Snowstorm and Becoming, field guides, and more) the forsythia brought in for a spring preview, or the subtle changes of the landscape, it all fills me with wonder. Wonderful. Wonder-filled. Fulfilled. Full. A full life, well-lived. Simple, slow-paced, yet busy enough. One day at a time, waking each morning knowing I’ll find joy in our everyday activities, surrounded by everything and everyone we love.
Still playing, just differently. Here’s a glimpse: