Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Sunday of My Life

 I haven’t had a fairytale life, but as I look back, there are numerous moments that shine out with pure magic. I might share those someday, write them down so my family can know a little bit more about me and remember the good times. Maybe...

The relationship with my second oldest daughter is strained after she ran away. She’s still living in another state, and I just worry she doesn’t know how infinitely I love her, especially since I really know her—I mean, I raised the kid! Ironically, she doesn’t seem to know much about me as a person. The latter point might sound silly, but, it’s important to me. The doctors say time could be running out. If my words are all she has to really remember me by during this time, well, at least she’ll have those—if she ever wants them.

I need to be forgiving even though it’s much easier to feel hurt. Being a teenager is hard. At that age we often think we know everything, and it’s awfully tough to look beyond ourselves. After all, I remember running away at 17 so I could be a homeless street musician in Hawaii. When I wasn’t cold and hungry I had an absolutely amazing time fiddling...but I didn’t think of what it had done to my family back home.

All of this reminiscing and regretting again because I talked with a different doctor last week, and the conversation still has me reeling. Specialists had hoped for all the cancer to be eradicated in some areas, but it’s not. To top that off, the tumor in my tailbone is still growing. My regular doctor hadn’t fully relayed the import of this news, and when this different man spoke with me and Mike last week, although I appreciated his honesty, his words made it hard for me to breathe.

He also talked about the melanoma in my brain and how all sorts of things could happen out of nowhere. The “coulds” went on and on—and on. But at the end of the conversation, he urged me to write a will.

“I met you in the hospital,” he said.

I felt embarrassed, but I couldn’t remember him. Parts of my one-month stay in the hospital are still a blur.

“I remember how much everyone liked you there. You’re just so happy and innocent-seeming...about everything. They still talk about you—and how you played the violin for the other patients.... How happy you were even after surgery. And even now your doctors have spoken highly of you.”

“Thank you,” I said, but I wondered where the conversation headed.


There it was.

“I don’t know if they’ve talked candidly with you,” he said. “It’s hard when you like someone so much—and they seem so happy. You don’t want them to hear the worst and lose hope. You don’t want to be the person to ‘break the spell.’ But I feel like you need to hear it. Right now you’re active again.... The point is that you need to be prepared.... Unless something very unexpected happens, you know what you’ll die of. You just. Don’t. Know. When.”

I held the tears back for the whole appointment, but later I sunk into a deep depression that lasted for days. I know I need to think about death and how I’d like to live if I do need life-support or something else. But it’s still hard to fully comprehend that “I’m” the one in this situation. Not some stranger, distant family friend, or older acquaintance. Me. And I have to make difficult choices right now.

So, I ended up calling a friend. He’s a tall cowboy who you’d  never expect to be a lawyer. In fact, he and his family (mainly his epic wife) taught me how to inoculate cows! Anyway, I made an appointment with him. I said, “If I have to do this, I might as well have a legend draft my will.” Nothing can be normal when I’m involved.

This took a lot out of me, but we’ll just add it to my list. I’ve done some crazy things throughout this experience. I sent a letter to monks in Brazil, ordered these strange mushrooms (for cooking) that are supposed to cure cancer, saw a psychic, started attending church again, talked to all sorts of specialists about what they offer across the world, and received a feather blessed by the ancient ancestors.

Something’s gotta work, right? But if it doesn’t, it’ll still be nice to have a will that was drafted by a legend—and this blessed feather that gives me hope.

When you find out you might die everything just sort of stops. You stop taking Italian lessons, stop buying dresses (that you might only wear one season), stop planning for retirement, you just STOP....

One of the dearest people in the whole world is Dee Ready. She once said, “I want to see you in your 40s. Those were such wonderful years for me.” She explained that she really embraced herself....

“This is terrible,” Mike said. “You’ve been through so many hard things in your adult life. And now this.”

I laughed. “And I just keep thinking how lucky I am not to be a pioneer. I could be alone on the trail after my family died of some strange disease. Then I could get killed by a traveling stranger or raped—right after watching my whole family die. Nope, I don’t have it bad. And every time I think I do, I just remember how grateful I am not to be a pioneer.”

And it suddenly hit me how I need to start planning again. Sometimes when the work week is over and we’ve reached Sunday, I so dread not seeing the family on Monday, that I ruin Sunday. If this is truly the “Sunday” of my life, I don’t want to ruin it. I want to really live.


  1. I have a will. When my grandmother died it became important for me. And when the boys father died it was a HUGE relief to already have it done. Grandparents have equal rights for custody. If something happened to me, my parents would not have to fight for the kids. It occurred to me that now, they are 19 and 20. And my husband doesn't own any stake in this house if something happens to me. It's on my "things to do before the end of spring" list. I have seen what can happen when someone passes without a will. I don't want that to happen to my kids/family. Planning is so important, plans to keep living for, and plans to make sure life can go on. (((HUGS)))

  2. Planning stuff isa good thing,having a will isa good thing too