Walking Though Cancer?/Part 5

                                                     The Waiting

Since my first bone marrow biopsy back in October, I’ve become more pensive than usual. Just taking it all in. I’ve never been seriously ill and now, seemingly out of the blue, I have a blood disorder. There’s no precedent in my family. This past year I’ve had to say goodbye to several friends, all of whom died from cancer. I felt sad to say goodbye to them, but it never occurred to me that I would be joining them one day.

So yes, regardless of what I may have, I have been thinking about death and what it would mean to me. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross describes in detail the various stages of coming to terms with death. There’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. The amazing thing is that I’m in acceptance now.

“Gene, I’m not afraid to die. I’ve lived such a rich and full life. How many people can say that?”

“Not many. Good for you, Babe. It’s the faith we’ve learned in our recovery rooms that will sustain us through this. Things are happening according to God’s plan. When we accept that without resistance, getting through it is so much easier.”

The fact is, we are all going to die sometime. And we don’t usually get to choose how. But if that’s what’s waiting for me, I feel so lucky to stare it in the face and prepare. Which I have gratefully done. My estate needed to be updated for one thing. I want the most important people in my life to be well taken care of.

At this point, I’m more concerned about my loved ones than I am about me. Whatever is creating havoc in my body will continue to do so for now. But grief is for the living. My family, close friends and I are on a jet which is in danger of crashing. I want to do what I can to ensure a smooth a landing for them. 

This place where I am—this space between living and dying—can be thought of as an enormous blessing. I can use the time for maximum benefit. And what a luxury, I feel so lucky. The prospect of dying has given me new and larger perspectives on the art of living, the art of dying, and the art of forgiveness.  It’s such a relief not to be mired in pettiness and all the emotions that make us smaller than we want to be.

To convert our energy instead into loving can make us so much bigger than we were before. 

For now, though, there’s still the waiting. And when the diagnosis comes, I’ll accept it. I’ll do what I can to get healthier. And then relax and let God do His work through me. Maybe I’ll get to live a lot longer. And maybe not. But whatever His plan is, I hope I will die as gracefully as I’ve tried to live, with deep gratitude in my heart for all I’ve been given.

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