This morning I read that Jimmy Carter has stage IV melanoma. Not a good prognosis. My father died at 57 from melanoma. Last fall I was given a diagnosis of stage 0, non-invasive, insitu melanoma. Sounds like the best you can get if you’re gonna get it…to me. So much so that I couldn’t bring myself to say that I had a cancer. That word is so very difficult to ascribe to self. Meanwhile, my very dear and close friend was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Another very dear and close friend died suddenly. All within the month of August and early September. The fall began as a time of grief and acceptance. The winter thru now has been a journey of healing.
As I feel the upcoming fall season, and reflect on where things are, I feel the urgency of life and getting the most out of it on a day to day basis. This summer I had knee surgery to clean out damage done over years and specifically in a fall while on a hike 2 years ago. So, rather than the summer I keep dreaming of and felt ready for doing on my own, being on the water, riding my bike, hiking, I was resting and recovering.
Now the summer is coming to a close. The children are back in school. Nights are a little cooler, a little crispy. I love this time of year. And it also brings up the sadness of a summer gone by once again unfulfilled. Or is it? Unfulfilled. I can’t quite feel that, though it is there and I am choosing not to go down that lane.
What does this summer and past year have to show me? Is this another level of healing a sad soul? I have harbored a secret (and not so secret at times) sadness throughout my entire life. It is a sadness born of feeling very much adrift from humanity, a separation of sorts between me and another human singular human being. My mother was not the mothering kind. She didn’t like any of the mess that comes with a child. She didn’t hug, didn’t kiss, except quick and perfunctory. She yelled. She told us all in various ways we were a pain and a burden to her. Though I know my sister has voiced the same, I felt alone in feeling unloved. Things and people change and now, at 86, Mom is learning it’s ok to be vulnerable and love openly. In doing so, she is showing us the person we always wished for is in there and a real possibility. She is allowing us the safety of loving her.
Coming into this past spring, my ex-husband entered the scene once again. He is an addict who lives for the appropriate moments he is able to drink and smoke. I lived for the “in between” of those moments and they became fewer and fewer until they didn’t exist much at all. After the divorce, my children began to bear the burden of his alcoholism. My son took him to rehab nearly a decade ago and gave him a home for the first 5 months following, which coincided with the first 5 months of the oldest daughter’s life. This past spring, my ex was given an over-the-top fresh start when an ultra-sound tech searching for reasons his heart was acting up made an intuitive detour and found a leaking aortic aneurism and saved his life. He went through alcohol and nicotine withdrawal in the ICU for 10 days. My son and oldest daughter saw him through it.
Our hope was that he would take this opportunity to find life again but he didn’t. He lived with my daughter and her family for 4 months, sneaking off to drink a six pack or so at the lake. I took on the task of telling him it was time to leave. And he did, leaving in his wake the sadness that has pervaded his life. Nothing is normal anymore. My children are finding their way around the emotions that accompany the knowing that your dad is not coming back, and that he has chosen it. How do you reconcile that? My new role is to be both parents to my children and I am learning how to do that.
A few years ago, I was told by an intuitive that my ex-husband was corded into my soul through my knee. I tossed that over my shoulder as probably just a lot of ooga-booga and hopeful thinking that there is something more magical than meets the eye going on here. I am thinking and feeling differently now. I am feeling pretty certain that it’s more real than not. Or is it a coincidence that, as I have a clear and final break with my ex, I have a clean out knee surgery? Maybe. Maybe not.
What is apparent to me is that life goes quickly and all of us do die in the end. My hope is that I live a very long and healthy life and my fear is that I won’t get to experience all that I long to experience. I have been holding on to the hope that I would meet the man of my dreams and we would do these things together. I have been waiting to live my life until it looks like I think it should look. Slowly as I gather more confidence and love for myself, I am moving into doing things on my own, like buying a house and taking care of my health, both physically, spiritually and emotionally. Next up is my trip to France.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk to blossom.” – Anais Nin
A really quick coloring page … Risk Butterfly_bw