Apr 28, 2013

You always have a choice. They say.

You can actually watch it melting. The snow. Winter has been long and cold again so there is still lot’s of snow here, at the end of the road. But the patches on my front yard are literary disappearing in front of my eyes. I took the first spring walk yesterday up the field in the late April sun, as far as the snow allowed me to. My darling cat Sorella and I did our premiere stroll for the year around our place and I threw away the old Christmas tree brusquely tossed from the second floor balcony when the holidays were over. Lovely. We are let out from the jail of frozen winter, and it’s lovely. It’s a big deep breath of life.

Exactly three months ago I could walk all the way to the creek, half a mile (800 meter) back and forth. I was so happy! I could do that already! Well, it was only that one time. Since then my walks have been very short, if at all. I am so sad that my beloved neighbor Alida, 96 soon to be, and I have been hibernating in our houses all winter long, and not one single time have I been able to sit at her kitchen table, drinking our tea, talking about all her lost and gone friends. My parents and grandparents. Alida providing me all those loose ends telling how everything is related in our village.

This spring she is letting me know that she wants to move in to an olds people’s home this fall if she I still alive. Her lonely days here in the house are way too long. So this was probably our last winter together at the end of the road. A few steps from each other during our long days, and yet we couldn’t be together. And it just breaks my heart. For the both of us. And though I can’t even imagine Alida not being here, the pain of thinking here gone is so strong it’s making me cry. I feel like a wall in my house will be gone leaving me exposed to unlimited dark and cold. I frankly don’t know how I will survive.

When I was cleared from cancer I decided to live life at it’s fullest, like most people facing death given a second chance do. I cleaned out a lot of closets determined to not any more suffer from blisters caused by anything chafing or scuffing. And before any choice, big or small, ask myself: is this what I want? Is this good for me? Is this helping me?

Because that’s what they say now, right? You always have a choice.
Make a wish. Follow your heart. Reach for the stars. Recognize your dreams. Set goals and make them happen. Choose your life. That’s what they say.

After the cancer and chemo my back problems increased for the worst. I was cancer free and couldn’t wait to live live live, but my body did limit that life strictly. The pain and the physical restrictions battled down the power and feeling of being invincible that is often gained by being a survivor. But hey, I don’t have cancer, I am basically healthy, this is just pain. It’s a drag but you won’t die from it. You need to be grateful.

You always have a choice. And when you feel like you don’t, you always have the choice how to relate to your situation. That’s what they say.

So, I am choosing not to complain. I am setting the goal to walk to the creek and as month after month pass and I can’t do it I am trying to be grateful that I can stroll through the grocery store. The choir rehearsals are like running a marathon and 95 % of my focus is controlling the pain, but I am truly happy that I can be there. I can’t make me dinner but I am enjoying that I some days am able to join my home care angel Peter giving him some little assistance in the kitchen. I can’t have my dinner sitting at the kitchen table, but I am looking forward to the late afternoons Grey’s Anatomy reruns keeping me company on my couch. And I am smiling and being nice and never whining. It could be worse. It truly could be so much worse. I know that for a fact.

So I don’t cry. I am accepting. And with that acceptance erasing the goals. I am a woman with a lot of will power. Most people would call me really stubborn when it comes to what I want to reach and accomplish. I used to be at the gym three times a week. I took one-hour power walks with dumbbells the days I wasn’t at the gym. I know how to do this. I want to do this. My body and soul knows the happiness and contentment of being in power, feeling strong and healthy, even looking a little bit good. And I love to dance! God how I long to dance!

So, did I choose this? No, I didn’t. The idea that we are in control of our lives is part illusion part bullshit. There is very little we can control. And for everyone less fortunate it’s an unbearable burden stacked upon whatever our trials are.

So, I am controlling myself, isn’t that what choosing how to handle your situation is about? I am smiling instead of crying. I am looking at the bright side instead of complaining. I am deciding that watching TV is an entertainment to be grateful about and blocking out my needs for seeing friends, going to a beautiful concert or watching an interesting exhibit. And I am happy about my nice home, as that’s the only place I can wish for. Erasing the goals. As they only lead to disappointment.

It’s not until I am realizing this is probably mine and Alida’s last winter together and I missed it that it breaks through. The anger, the despair, the rage, the grief, the loneliness, the incomprehensibility, the WHY WHY WHY???!!! Why did we have to miss it just because I can’t walk and sit?

This morning I felt really good. I could move better than I have in months. I had energy. I felt happy for no particular reason. I think I even hummed on a little tune. I planned on running some errands that would need a little bit of walking in between treatments tomorrow. Then it happened again. During the afternoon a slight shooting pinched me across the sacrum. I was sitting at a chair. Just sitting straight up. And there it was. The needle. Not a knife, but still, a needle. I haven’t had that kind of pain since November. Since this lying down life started. And now I’m there again.

Am I choosing this? This completely unpredictable life where nothing is certain and there is zero to trust? Where I need to be prepared for anything at anytime. Where my situation can change on a split of a second? Where unexpected hope on a good morning is a dangerous enemy that strikes back on you for seeing a window where the light finds you? Where most things are chafing and scuffing? Do I sound bitter? Yes, I am. Deep down under my choice of smiles and no complaints and looking at the bright side I am tonight finding bitterness. Deep down under controlling myself to fit in to what’s expected of me in this day and age 2013. And it doesn’t make me look good, I am aware.

I don’t know how to end this posting. I don’t have anything encouraging closing up with. I am not choosing this. That’s all I know. I am not choosing this.

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