I’m not very good at remembering dates and numbers. While I can tell you exactly how I was feeling when something happened, I just can’t recall specifics with regard to when they happened. Luckily I knew this about myself and wrote down all the important dates and ages of my kid’s milestones or else I’d have no idea when my boys said their first words or took their first steps. But it seems I do have a built in reminder system with my senses. Smells, sounds, and tastes are wonderful at bringing me back to a specific moment in time.
So recently when I began getting a feeling that I was coming up on a meaningful anniversary, I had a general sense for what it was, but I had to go back to my calendar to find out the specifics.
March 13th and 21st.
Found the lump on the 13th, diagnosed on the 21st.
One year ago.
I think about my life before these dates. It’s kinda like when I think about my life pre-kids. “Wow, I was so naive and innocent and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”
One year ago. My older son had auditioned for a highly competitive Performing Arts High School and was waiting to find out if he’d been accepted. My younger son was still attending school part time so he could train in gymnastics, looking towards his Regional competition. My husband was deep in Graduate School and writing on several projects. I was enjoying the routine that offered me so much comfort; one that involved daily exercise, eating healthy, being a mom and running our household. We’d just told the boys about a trip to Disney World that we’d been planning for several months.
And then March 13th and 21st happened.
Now, a year later, my older son is completely immersed and loving his Performing Arts High School. He has also grown taller than me, something that still astounds me. My younger son has become much more independent, now homeschooled full time and hoping that his training and skills will qualify him for Nationals. Both boys have matured tremendously. It seems the events of the past year have forced them to grow up in a way I hadn’t anticipated they’d have to, if it weren’t for that lump. My husband has been dealing with his own challenges, grappling with being the sole financial provider in our family and having a wife that is, at her best, moody and irritable a good deal of the time. Me, well, if you follow these blogs, you know how I’m doing. And we still haven’t taken that trip to Disney World.
Two dates that I will mark every year going forward. My sense is that with each year that passes, the dates will become less meaningful. In the future I’ll gain perspective and will be able to recall them with a wisdom that only the gift of time can offer.
Another thing I find myself doing as I look back, is consider the future. I wonder what the year ahead will hold? What will I be reflecting on a year from now? In my good moments, I’m hopeful that the year will be filled with health, abundance and joy. But in my fearful moments, I worry that I’ll be adjusting to more sad events.
Funny how time works, isn’t it? I’m having conversations with my boys these days that I couldn’t even imagine when they were little babies and toddlers. We talk about all sorts of things and I love hearing their perspectives on adult topics. I’m not sure we would’ve gotten to this place in our relationship so quickly had it not been for the year we all just endured. They’ve witnessed me at my worst, curled up in a ball on the couch as the chemo worked it’s magic on my body. And I’ve witnessed them at their best, moving through their own fears and challenges around having a sick Mom.
And one year later, here we are. A little beaten down and tired, but we’re here, together. So yeh, this is a date to note and maybe just an opportunity for me to acknowledge how far we’ve come, challenges and all. Because while they saw me at my worst, they also saw me standing up after the bad days, moving forward with treatments, finding things to smile about every day and showing them what going through cancer looks like.
And I was given another year to witness my amazing boys in their lives.
It’s been raining a lot lately. Not such a big deal to most, but here in LA, it’s always an event. A few days ago, my Southern California born-and-bred boys decided it was the perfect time to play basketball in the rain. My husband, of course, had to join. I watched from the warmth of my home and had a moment of joy and contentment. Sure, the year was tough, but wow. I live a life surrounded by love Every. Single. Day.
So on this cancerversary, I’m going to take a moment to express gratitude. Because right here, right now, all is good. And heck, nobody knows what the next moment will hold. So let’s just enjoy the moment- rain and all.