The day after

We apologize for what may be shocking for many. We have shared already privately with many people. We appreciate reading notes from people but in all honesty, phone calls/walks/visits are exhausting at the moment. Chris has so many appointments coming up she just wants to focus on taking care of herself and healing. If you run into our family members, they would love your hugs and support. They have no answers and updates to offer.

Many people have asked what they can do for us. In all honesty, please Vote for our son JP Maurice And if you have it in your heart and wallet to donate to his charity – Creatively United for the Planet, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Musings by Chris Photos by Jim and Others

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Well the good news is, that it isn’t days or weeks. The surprising news is, that it may be a year. Months. Not the diagnosis we were expecting after a two-week cruise to Hawaii and the latest PET Scan. The oncologist delivering the news was noticeably shaken and emotional. “May I hug you? We’re not suppose to but I just feel I need to.” She held me tightly and I was appreciative of her compassion and remorse, that cancer can still shock and awe even the most seasoned oncologist.

Jim and I held each onto each other’s fading resolve like a sinking ship about to go down for the last count. We literally found ourselves gasping for air, wondering where 37 years disappeared and all our good intentions to say ‘I love you’ each morning and night.

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Today is a clean slate. We begin again, acutely aware of what attracted us to each other in the first place; the gifts of three brilliant children who love us and are fine rich humans in their own right; three adorably mischievous and energetic grandchildren; a brave and stalwart mother of 93. Our circle of friends, like our family, is small but potent and breathes fresh air into our lungs resuscitating us regularly. We couldn’t make it without them.

The fall rains are upon us; much appreciated after a summer drought. We can get stuck in the mud and wallow until my time is up or we can just live. There is nothing different today than yesterday (October 7th) when I found out I have Stage 4 cancer throughout my body. I have more information than I probably wanted to have, but at least I have a timeline – something most of us just guess at. This timeline is completely arbitrary anyway. I have a choice as to how it plays out. Today I’m choosing vigour and vitality and love and joy.

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On our cruise, we met this older couple originally from Glasgow with accents reminiscent of Jim’s deceased mother. They now live in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He was one of six sons of the miller in their small village outside of Glasgow. He went to war, lost a kidney, had an arduous journey to get to medical attention and once there it took another six months of recovery. When he came back home he was looking for a lass and eyed this bonny 16 year old and the rest is history. He celebrated his 85th birthday on board the ship and we keep stumbling into them as a reminder of privilege. What an honour it is to watch them walk hand and hand around the outer promenade deck, arms around each other as they take turns guiding each other up and down the stairs. They definitely have a comfortable two-step, a give and take, realizing their last waltz may arrive sooner rather than later.

One never knows when a wave may catch you off guard and you seek your reserve of life preservers. Ultimately we enter this world alone and we leave it alone. It is the in between times that matter most. We can do it alone or we can do it together. I’m finally learning that together is better. Defensiveness is simply the ego getting in the way of letting go. In truth, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that if you have a partner in your life treasure the cruises upon which you have the good fortune to sail together. We have no idea how many there are on this nautical journey. And if circumstances have left you without a life partner, then hold fast to your friends, your family, and most importantly yourself. Never have you found as good a friend as yourself.

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The goal is the same, whether we live alone or with a partner – live as if you have no idea how long your time on this earthly plane will last. Breathe in the salty air, take up a language or instrument, read a good mystery or novel, walk around the promenade deck, watch a movie under the stars, dance, and just maybe you will forget yourself for a moment and instead ‘be’ the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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