June 30, 2019
It’s 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning. For the last week it has been on my mind that I should “get this done”. Author Thomas Cirignano, in “The Constant Outsider”, wrote “Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.”
Once again I’ve REALLY fallen down when it comes to entries here. As ‘ole Grandma Bowman used to say, “Gonna never did anything…”. God willing I have the energy I will make every effort to bring this up to date… I’m gonna write until I no longer have the energy…
I didn’t know where to begin. Sitting on the deck with a cup of coffee and Takota this morning, listening to the birds loudly greeting another day, I finally broke down. Uncontrollably crying. I mean REALLY crying. I have fought and tried to hold back my tears to make room for those Sherry has been shedding. I KNOW she is devastated and consumed by her own anguish right now. I can see the pain in her eyes. It is the first time I’ve completely broken down since I received the initial call from Doctor Hopkins 4:45 Friday. “Inoperable Adenocarcinoma. The most common type of cancer. Advanced and very quickly growing…” is what he said. Resting on my heart, the grapefruit-sized tumor is between my lungs, and cannot be operated on.
We are to receive another call tomorrow (Monday), to verify the diagnosis. The Oncology referral is in place for July 3rd. It is with him that we will create a “plan of action”. It has been a VERY long and stressful few days waiting for the call. I laughed. When people complain about their weekends not being long enough. Monday cannot come fast enough for me…..
So many memories in 64 years. I KNOW I am different. Gregory always told me I was overly nostalgic. Some people when they are dying are thinking about missing their flashy cars, which thousand-dollar suit to be buried in. Who is gong to get the good china. Which designer to hire for their headstone… Me? I’m sitting here remembering the German Shepherd I grew up with. Lifelong relationships established back in High School. Grandma Bowmans gentle hands. Grandma Buckmans rabbit-stew! Getting lost in Chicago while delivering a load. Renewed relationships with my “girl cousins”. The pure joy of witnessing the sunrise over every state in the union and thankful for the 3 million miles I’ve traveled from coast to coast. The greatest English Pointers a bird-hunter could ever ask for. Ironically, as the disease progresses, I experience massive spurts of energy and have never felt more alive. An uncontrollable urge to “get things done”. Then, fatigue hits me with an upper-cut. I feel myself sliding face-first down the brick wall I just ran into.
This “news” has constricted my ability to think rationally. It has also filled me with, or should I say it has entirely erased any degree of patience I may have had. In seconds I can go from being focused on a task to lashing out at whoever is at hand. I have yelled at the grocery clerk. Flew off the handle at the cable company. Poor Sherry has endured my cutting criticism. I am so very sorry for that. In the past I’ve had little patience for laziness, half-assed work, poor quality… THOSE feelings have been amplified a thousand percent. I vowed to myself this morning to be ever mindful of that emotion coming out of me and fight hard to not give in to the emptiness filling my heart.
Everyone wants their side of the story to be heard in order to keep the facts straight. To leave a legacy. A final word. I still lean that way, but slowly my attitude has evolved into the feeling of not caring which story about me you choose to believe. The FACT is, my story is full of terrible, impulsive choices, broken pieces, often uninformed decisions. All of those “bad behaviors” didn’t mean I was a bad person. I never intentionally set out to hurt, alienate or distance anyone (unless of course they deserved being disowned!). On the other hand, I have been blessed with major comebacks, a calm in my heart and soul. Grace and blessings in my life that could only have come from “Man Above”. With him, I know that throughout time, what is inside me has been well meaning, beautiful, generous, pure and honest. As I “review” on the deck this morning, as the end grows near, every memory, every moment will be the only possession that really matters to me.
There is a prayer I remember seeing somewhere: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I understand that prayer now.
As always… Thank you for listening…..