How often do you live a day and then, at the end of it, when you flop down onto your bed exhausted think,
my life would have been left incomplete without this day
I don’t know that I often thought of the days in my early motherhood like that. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t too into early motherhood. If I was in some sort of depression or wrought with anxiety and just didn’t ever know it. Or if I was just not taking the time to really give a single day its due.
But night after night, over the last two and a half weeks, I’ve found myself thinking, “that may have been the best day of my life.”
I don’t know if it’s because I’m having some sort of church camp high after being done with rads and hearing the verbal recognition that as of now, I am cancer-free. And I get. To. Live.
I GET TO LIVE.
I know. It might start sounding dramatic, like, “sheesh, ash, tone it down. We get it. You had the c-word. It’s over.”
But you see… It will never be over for me. Not in the sense that it will be for others.
My dad asked me today, “so as far as the oncology doctors appointments now…” And we discussed how I will proceed from here. And then, at one point I said, “I don’t know. It’s like, right now I’m kind of in a state of holy shit… I fucking did that… And I did it okay!”
And now. I just can’t shake the cancer. Clearly the cancer… The angry, mean bully… That dude is gone. But I can’t shake the impact it made on me. It has completely changed my trajectory. Not that I have any freaking clue what I want to be when I grow up. But in the sense that now, I am excited about aging, slowly of course. Now, I think about how fun second grade will be. And seventh. And sending another off to school. And graduation. And family vacations. And moments. And hugging my parents. And brunches with my tribe. And I want the hubs to have more moments with his tribe. I’m filled with anticipation for not only the big days. But the small. The normal. Because even the normal days bring so many moments I wouldn’t have had if I had been killed by breast cancer at 34.
I’ve had moments over the last two and a half weeks.
Moments with children at Vacation Bible School where I was moved to tears because of the beauty of listening to their little, innocent voices. I’ve had moments with my own kids where I just seriously want to sleep in bed with them because I miss them when I close the bedroom door at night.
I’ve gotten to be around my parents, my in-laws, my sister and her family, my brother and his family, extended family, and my roots, all within a month’s time.
I’ve gotten to sit in front of the ocean and breathe in the salt water and let it fill my nose and my lungs and my soul.
And I’ve gotten to lay down at the end of most days with the best of the best by my side.
And I’ve had many days where my thought at the end has been,
That was a well-lived day.
Today. It was such a good day. And yesterday. And the day before. In fact, I can’t think of a bad day as of late. And while I know hard days will come. Days where I have more fear and tears than smiles and happy thoughts. Days where it feels like when it rains it pours.
Today, I walked through my dad’s childhood. And part that was visiting the grave sites of my paternal grandmother and grandfather and so much of my extended family. And I paused and took a picture of my dad’s cousin’s grave site.
His name was Mark. Father to Joanna and Ben. I remembered Joanna and Ben from annual family campouts/reunions. But I couldn’t gather a memory of Mark. December 16, 1951-February 27, 1984. I was two. And Ben, his son, was a baby. And I remembered right before my dad walked up and started telling the boys and my nephews. Mark had a separate gravestone from his parents, Neal and Donna, because he had died before them. Of cancer. A bad kind, I’m told. A kind that went fast.
It didn’t make me cry. To see that. It made me thankful. Grateful. Sure, it makes me think cancer is the worst. But it made me realize, once again, like I do daily right now that I am so lucky. I am living. And I’m not just living. I’m living with a purpose — goodness.
There are things in the world that suck. That aren’t good. There are horrible stories in the news. There are people who face their own battle to make it out of bed every day. Struggle to find work. Struggle to love life. Or find any joy in it. And there are people who will always have to deal with hard no matter what they do.
Currently, I am not one of them. I may be again someday. I know that to be a reality.
But it’s crazy to think that each day ahead, has the possibility of being the very best day of my life. Or at least, the best day I’ve never lived. And for now, it has me jumping for joy.