The longer we live, the more apt we are to have days that remind us of life’s events.
Anniversaries of things we would like to remember, or wish we could forget, will stick with us. Some of us are better at remembering those dates than others. Anniversary dates of birthdays, weddings, divorces, being hired or being fired, accidents, other days that simply have some sort of impact on us and our lives, both big and small, become a month, weekly, and (dare I say?) daily occurrences, especially as we approach our golden years.
Some of these days coincide with normal holiday seasons and, if the event has been particularly challenging or painful, we never look at the holiday or month or season quite the same. As we anticipate the anniversary of the event, the grey clouds of doom and gloom seem to hover over us, and we can dread the very act of waking up to face the days ahead.
We can get caught in a funk.
If this funk were the music of the band, Tower of Power (ToP), then it would be a lot more fun. But this is the kind of funk that sucks the very life out of you.
I have been approaching this funk for about six weeks now, as I foolishly continue to recall or ruminate on the dates, and remember situations and stories that take me back to April to July of 2012.
Today, I asked my sister, Sonja, if she knew what today was. She remembered, yet I proceeded to mention that this was the date four years ago that I was informed of stage 4 diagnosis with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)/carcinoid cancer. He said the prognosis was “six months to a year, two if lucky.”
I cannot even begin to articulate what it is like to hear those words. It changes the world, as you know it. There are a few days where you are in a complete state of shock, trying to wrap your head around the knowledge, most of the time in disbelief. Then you have to move forward somehow. I did not know how I was going to make that happen, and nearly made a decision where there would be no moving forward.
But I did move forward and have now come to this four-year mark after diagnosis.
But have I truly moved forward?
My sister may not realize it, but she kicked me in the ass today. We all need it from time-to-time. She held a verbal mirror in front of me, and I had to take a hard look at myself.
“Yes sis”…she knew what day it was.
“I don’t focus on that though.”
And then she knocked me over.
“You showed me to let go and never look back, to keep moving forward because that is where our future resides…You taught me to never fear the moment…”
At that moment, all I could think of is, “I did?”
Inside, I felt like a fraud.
Presenting the image of having it all together…
…and asking others to see beyond their own challenges is certainly much easier than going through the pain of moving forward. Even if others do not know it, because I can talk a good game, I know it. And the couple of people whom I let in to see the pain, and fear, also know it.
Thankfully, they will call me on it, when I need it. They do it with love, but just as directly and compassionately as I do it with my clients and students…and with them.
Yes, today is an anniversary. It has been four years since I hear some bad news that changed my life. The events leading up to it were painful, scary, and confusing. The months following were challenging on many levels, including my choice to stand up to a doctor that I did not believe had my best interest at heart.
But, I must let go of the internal hold these dates have on me, because I am holding on to the fear, anger, and pain of those days, weeks and months from four years ago. It has been insidious; so much so that I did not realize it.
I am alive. I live with neuroendocrine tumors. I have had surgeries, and more CT scans, MRIs, monthly injections, and blood work than I can count.
BUT…I am ALIVE…and my future lies in moving forward.
In the words of my sister:
“…it’s easier to preach what we know to be true…, but difficult to apply to our own lives…Logic and emotion collide and we…are paralyzed to apply it…We feel empowered (however) to help others…”
I do not know when I ever taught her any of the lessons she taught me today. But she does understand me, and we are very much alike.
Today, I move forward into my fifth year after diagnosis. The future. And I am eternally grateful for those who have stood by me, understood me, and loved me every step along the way.
As far as the “funk”…I think I will take a lesson from (ToP), and “funk the dumb stuff” from now on…
© Coral Levang 2016