Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Forgetting to Live

Last night I was watching a TV program, and one of the characters said something that shook me to my core. In her role on the show she is someone who is undergoing cancer treatment, and in regards to that she said, “I have been trying so hard not to die that I forgot to live”.

Exhale.

Putting aside for a minute that I don’t expect to get earth shattering, profound nuggets off of prime time TV, what really gets me is that here is something I actually need to think about. I am pretty sure it was true for me while I was Fighting the Good Fight. The fighting consumes everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. It sucks the life out of living. It eats up every last reserve. Kind of like its own cancer. It can become all consuming until we forget why we are fighting, we forget what it is all for, and we stop enjoying the very reason, the very thing, which we are fighting for. It is kind of cruel. Scratch that, it is very cruel.

There is a huge quality of life issue here. If not for more time with my friends and family, for more fun, for more laughter, for more passion, for more excitement and exhilaration, for more connection, for more deep and meaningful conversations, for more making a difference, for more (insert whatever is true for you here), then why am I doing it? So why would I pass up any chance to have more of that WHILE I wrestle the Dark Angel. Forget AFTER. This “after” thing is so overrated, and so yesterday. Now is the new now, I say!!! Life is for living. Cancer is for living. Dying is for living. Every last little second of it. “Oh, I am coming dangerously close to an area in which I have no authority, never having faced Death up close, how dare I make such presumptuous statements”, my gremlin chides me. Never mind, someone has to say it. Might as well be me, I like speaking the unmentionable. It gives me a thrill, and what better day to do that on than TODAY, while I am still here, kicking and screaming.

Carrying on with the original thread (as opposed to my gremlin introjections), consider Maggie. She never forgets the reason for living. She is always very focused. If it is not for the food, or the sleep, then it is all about having fun. Be that chasing mice (toy or real – her level of fun is not qualified by the authenticity of her prey), attacking her catnip bag or playing footsies with me under the shower curtain (unfortunately this involves my bare toes and her extended claws, but I don’t point it out to her, because she enjoys it so much, besides the scratches heal). She knows what she is up to. She knows her mission in life. And she is not getting side tracked by anything. So what is my lesson here? Because for me, it not about not fighting. That is not an option, then or now. And, quite frankly, I get a lot of enjoyment out of tackling a beast like this head on (well, that is if I win). So the lesson must be in the living full out. Living in the land of the living.

In taking that to another level, I notice that in this idea, this interesting sentence above, the emphasis is on the negative, the NOT, the thing we are avoiding and don’t want to happen. Bit of a set up, putting all our time, energy and focus on the Dark Side. And while what I am about to say is a bit new age-y even for me, it has to be said, “what we resist persists”, “where we put our energy is what gets expanded”. Why not put our focus on living. On love, life and the pursuit of happiness. On getting every last little drop of joy out of each moment. And even on making the sucky things as fun as we can. And I don’t say this last piece lightly. In 2001, when we went into chemotherapy, when I finally made the decision to move forward with that choice (and trust me it took plenty of time and prayer and handing it over for me to get good with that decision), Angie said, “Whooo Hoooo, we are doing chemotherapy!!!” I knew what she meant, I think we all did. It was her implicit way of calling us forth, of reminding us “if we have to do it, let’s laugh in it’s face, let’s make it the ride of our lives”. Kind of like when you climb on the roller coaster, it could be hell or it could be fun. Guess who decides. The person sitting in your seat.

65 Comments:

At 4:31 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signy!!
It's Joanna Banana aka Joanne Marshall, now Joanne Eagles.
Sunny Gervan and I found each other
after 14 years, and she was my maid of honour at my wedding last May!!
I have been out here in Vancouver since

 
At 4:36 PM PST, Anonymous jojorama said...

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At 8:34 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Jonanne!!!

Oh my God, yay, this is so great. I love that you wrote me. I love that Sunno sent you to the blog. I can't wait to connect!!!

Any other long lost friends hanging out in cyber space!!!

 
At 8:35 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Hmmm, there is my opps, not Jonanne, but Joanne, I guess my fingers got the better of me.
Either that or my enthusiasm!

 
At 1:35 AM PST, Blogger Alda said...

Barging in on your reunion here to say: what a great post! :)

I disagree that you don't have the authority to say these things - you certainly had to tackle the dark angel, and anyway, who needs authority to speak the truth?

Oh, and your descriptions of Maggie *really* made me miss having a cat. Meh.

 
At 3:34 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Good reminder about authority and truth. And while I did fight the Good Fight, I also recognize that that is a different journey from having to surrender to The Disease. Which, obviously is not a journey I know, or can legitimately speak to.

That said, I still have an opinion, as I am sure you have all noticed!

 
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