Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Normal

We get up in the morning—for some of us it’s at the kiss of dawn, for others, it’s the full embrace of morning. Walk the dog, eat breakfast, jot down a few thoughts and sentences, walk to the beach, think about the
“to-do” list...
rinse and repeat.

The day is fairly normal. Same day/different week. We fit in trips, adventures, jobs, gardening, artwork, lunch with friends, playtime, cleaning the garage, and letting dust build up on the bookshelves. We phone our Mom (she’s fine), pick up the mail, refill the bird feeders, find a clear area on the dining room table for dinner, and then settle in for an episode of Top Chef. Answering the telephone is simple, ordinary, mundane, safe but—                WHAM!

Someone you love is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
We feel the tremors—small rumblers and quakes—precursors to The Big One. Suddenly, the days change into a patchwork quilt of sleepless nights, poor food choices, anxiety and fuzzy logic. We pad ourselves with cotton to buffer the pain and struggle to just take it one minute, hour, day at a time. Think positive. Pray. We’ve been knocked for a loop, but slowly, steadily, we get back up.

The world shifts, the sun darkens, a giant sink hole opens up and oxygen is sucked out of the room.
If we say it out loud, it takes away its power, right? cancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancer
We look for rhyme and reason where there is none. Nothing. Our hearts are broken. The volcano erupted. Sulfur and ash spew into the still air, choking us. Who did we think we were anyway?

RL is calm, collected. She is devastated, angry and determined. “What’s next ?”, she says. Her passion and creativity kick into overdrive. “What is my cancer? How is it treated? Do NOT tell me about statistics.” (According to the experts, she shouldn’t even have non-small cell lung cancer). “When can I go home? How soon can I begin treatment? How do we get back to some kind of Normal?”

We readjust. Take a different tack. We didn’t ask for this. Who would??? Does anyone ever dream of having the rug pulled out from under them? Did you ever dream of becoming an astronaut, a teacher, an adventurer, to sail across the Atlantic, to own a vineyard in Italy, to sit in a small room while medical personnel pump you full of toxic, horrible drugs?

RL is an artist. Her creative genes give her strength. She sees things differently, especially the big stuff. She has a sense of proportion and perspective. She is real and honest. RL has a sense of momentum—sure and steady wins the race. She is full of gratitude and resiliency. We follow her lead. Our own creativity kicks in. We admit our own fears, ask for help and get back to Living.

We get up in the morning and a new day begins.

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