Sunday, May 24, 2015

Glancing Back While Moving Forward


     A year ago I wrote a blog entitled, "Decreasing Urgency."  At that time, it had been about a year and half from when I was diagnosed with advanced cancer, and because my medication was controlling my disease well, I was able to feel some relief, and hope.  I realized that I was moving away from my initial sense of panic, that was driving me to try to get things done quickly...before I lost my chance.  I wanted my children, both in their twenties, to "ripen" before I died.  I was secure that I had mothered them as best as I could, but there were a few things I still needed to tweak.  I needed to get my house in order - organizing my belongings and getting rid of unused "stuff" that had quietly, and insidiously, accumulated in our basement. My last quest was to create as many memories for Wynn, unrelated to my illness, as I could.

     The priorities I had a year ago are still very important to me.  Nathan and Nina are moving forward in their lives and I am so very happy for them both.  I see that they are continuing to surround themselves with support systems that will, without a doubt, help them negotiate life's ups, and downs.  It is incredibly comforting to I am sure it would be for all mothers.  I continue to want to have as many shared experiences with Wynn so that he can look back and know how happy I was to be his wife.  Over the past year I have come to appreciate that Wynn, too, wants to have  shared experiences with me.  He goes to great effort to make sure I know that I am loved.   

     Along with making sure Nathan and Nina are headed in the right direction and that Wynn knows how much he means to me, the third priority was dealing with the junk in my house.  So last weekend, together with my next door neighbor and dear friend, Brigid, we had a garage sale.  Although I've been told that garage sales can be money makers, our goal was to make sure we brought nothing back into our houses.  Therefore, everything was priced to sell.  Most items were less than $5.00, many items were less than $1.00, and we ran 2-for-one specials, as needed.  We made sure each visitor knew to "Make an Offer" on anything they were interested in. 

     The weekend was a success.  Brigid and I unloaded most all of what we brought out to sell.  That old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," is so true.  We could not believe what people bought. getting rid of a lot of old and unused stuff, we both profited beyond our expectations.  At the end of Sunday, there were a few things that did not sell.  We loaded them into our cars and drove straight to the Goodwill Donation Center.  It was beautiful.

     Preparing for a garage sale required a fair amount of planning and work.  In
lieu of Mother's Day gifts, I asked my family to help me clean the garage and drag tables and crap out of the basement.  (I'm pretty sure they would have all preferred to buy me flowers and a card.) Sorting through nearly 30 years of accumulated crap is definitely not for sentimental types. There were items that I clearly wanted to hold onto to, however, when I came across something I wasn't sure about, I reminded myself that I will likely have a shortened life...and since that's the case, I wanted to be responsible to my family so as to not add the burden of cleaning out my crap on top of my absence.  

     As you can imagine, going through our things brought back many, many memories.  I came across something that gave me pause and I sat down, for over an hour, as I was drawn back nearly two and half years.  I have a basket of get well cards and notes I received in the first few months after I was diagnosed. I opened and re-read each word that was sent to me.  I cried, not because I was reliving the fear and difficulty of those
first few months, but because I was so touched by the the outpouring of support that flooded into my mailbox. I re-read over a hundred cards, letters and notes from all over the U.S., Europe and Japan.  Some family members and friends sent more than one card and my friend, Claudia, was on a campaign to send me an uplifting card, per week, for months. 

     So...while it feels great to purge my house of junk in an effort to move forward more freely, I was reminded how these notes gave me strength back then...I didn't want to let anyone down who was sending me encouragement.   

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