I struggle to say this aloud as well as typing it, propelling my thoughts and beliefs into the universe. For those who I know personally, you would realize that I did not grow up in a religious setting. My Mum was of the belief that I could make up my own mind about spirituality, religion and who I define as my God. Holding all of the cards as to who I presume God to be, I have been an extensively spiritual person. There are many things and experiences that I could share in an effort to better outline or host my level of spirituality, but I will spare you of the gritty details. Lets just say that there have been a number of incidents as to which I was met with my spirituality.
During difficult times, many people cling to what it is they decipher God to be, as well as how they define death in the ended phase of immortalization. For me, I have remained in tact with my spiritual resolutions, trumping specific identification for which I believe my God to be. In fact, the spirits that I feel have guided me through this life thus far are the family members with whom have passed onto the other side. I’m not saying I pray to them in an effort to save my life, but I listen to them deep within my heart and soul and look to my gut feelings on what they would say if they were alive today, as I believe they are marching me through this challenging time.
Just the other night, I lay in bed from the time I rested my head on the pillow, alongside the glimmer of the nearly full moon, and did not sleep the entire night through as I watched the sun arrive with the following day. As I lay in bed with the slight murmur of my husband and dog’s snores, I thought deeply about everyone who has been in my life, going from the start of my twenty-eight years, all the way through those that are in my life today. Relying on my faint memories all the way through my large, life impacting recollections, I spent a moment or two on every memory that could be relived inside of my chemo infused mind. Particular and distinct aspects of my reminiscence struck a smile, enticed my nerves and in some cases brought tears to my eyes. Realizing that every single person I have been lucky to meet and carry a relationship with has made my life up to this point and each held impacts, some more significant than others but nevertheless appreciated and important.
This cinematic approach to my life so far distracted me through the night and inevitably begged the question as to why I was inventorying life, my life. I have mentioned before that thoughts about the afterlife and dying was a real thought process when battling and balancing life with Stage IV cancer, or any stage of cancer for that matter. Of course I do my best to put on a smile and tell myself and convince others that I am still the happy go lucky person I once was, believing that I held all the cards for my life and death was a formidable postscript. However, in the deep, dark hours of the night leaves you discerning things that you wouldn’t dare share with the world, speak aloud or even think of during daylight. I know that despite my diagnosis, it is not a death sentence, yet it surely comes in the form of a pink slip. Similar to the dreaded pink slip, cancer clambers itself into your life and you’re left feeling as though you are getting fired in this job that we refer to as life and livelihood. Suddenly your only job is to rid yourself of the cancer, some are able to find a new “job” and others remain “jobless” and unable to work at being alive anymore.
As the morning approached from the sky up above, the lingering image of myself was in a casket. It was such an organic and real image that it left me shaking in my boots, or rather my bed. The representation of that train of thought caught me off guard. Was it healthy to be having these thoughts, was I giving in and giving up? Those were some of the questions I asked myself as the thought was imprinted in my mind, almost as though I was soring above myself and found that I was rationalizing as to what I thought my deceased loved ones would advise me, I felt their presence. Somehow it was an uncomfortable reaction with the thought of them and the feeling of their company. Frantically attempting to imagine anything else became a difficult task. I was now confronting my thoughts of the night and reasoning as to WHY I traveled down memory lane. They say your life passes before your eyes and when you are about to meet your maker, your life’s theatre debut takes place in the cognizance of your mind. By my own grasp, the momentous sensation of my loved ones that passed were in attendance left me bursting into tears. In my own, painstaking mind, I viewed their attendance as homage to my significant spirituality, but also a fear that with all of my retention in the night and weighty reminiscence, the loved ones were here to “collect me”.
After catching my breath, I escaped to my bathroom, rinsed my face and told myself that my gut feelings were due to lack of sleep. Perhaps I needed to relive some of my fondest memories to realize how truly fortunate I have been all of my life. I was raised with love and care from my family, my friends and now a connection with beautiful peers battling the same disease. I then chose to stop thinking about death and enjoy what I have in front of me.
This week, Steve decided to take time off of work to comfort me and spend some quality time going on small adventures and enjoying this thing we call life. They say life is a matter of arrangement and matter. I am choosing to simply “arrange” my feelings from focusing on what the afterlife is and realized that all that “matters” is that I live everyday to the fullest and compartmentalize thoughts of death to the far corner of my mind. Feeling refreshed after my optimization of each and every memory and feeling, I have adopted a mantra to get me through. “An object in motion tends to stay in motion; an object at rest tends to stay at rest.” So, for today and the days ahead, I vow to myself that the key is to stay in motion, keep fighting and assure myself that I can rest when I am dead.
Very nice Britt. The thing I have learned is that I am not afraid of death. It doesnt mean I wish that it will happen ( although it does for everyone sooner or later), but I know confidently that I have something to look to in the afterlife. My good friend has told me that “eternity matters most”. I think it does unconditionally to the good or bad life I have lived, only one thing counts- I believe. Bless you, Britt. You are a brave person. Live the journey!