These are Days to Remember

How would you live if you felt your days were limited?

A few years ago, I asked the doctors how much time they thought I might have left, because I assumed that I might live my life differently if I had three months vs 18 months vs some uncountable number of years.

Their answer did put a lot of pressure on me to make every minute count. That kind of pressure generally results in my doing absolutely nothing.

The happy news is that I am gratefully living more months than “the average and expected.”

Retrospectively, I don’t know if I live differently as a result of what the doctors told me. I definitely do far less long-term planning than I used to.  I buy trip insurance. I make fewer firm commitments. I withdrew from doing anything I absolutely didn’t want to do and found more passion for the things I needed to do. Like many people I know, I strive to balance living in the moment with looking toward the future.

I imagined that I would savor every moment, but some moments remain easier to savor than others. I thought that I would do only amazing things, but much of my day still consists of the mundane – cooking, dishwashing and picking up after the kids. I thought that I would forgive more easily and love more deeply and while I aspire to this, I still have my own internal barriers to both.

The ground shifted yesterday when I heard about another death from cancer, someone I didn’t know personally but who touched my life nonetheless and passed too soon, causing me to reconsider how I live my life.

Of course, there are countless ways to live. Before I could again be paralyzed with indecision, I heard the old song These are Days by 10,000 Maniacs and the words resonated in my soul.

To be part of the miracles you see
In every hour

That appealed to me as a pretty awesome way to live, whether for three months or 18 months or some uncountable number of years.

And on a more tangible level, I like the idea of aiming for this:

These are the days you might fill with laughter
until you break.
These days you might feel a shaft of light
make its way across your face.

And when you do, you’ll know how it was meant to be…

Know that you are blessed and lucky – these are days to remember. These truly are days to live and grow and bloom.

Love and light,

8 thoughts on “These are Days to Remember

  1. I am with you on many levels today, Marie.
    I never asked my doctor for a prognosis because I am so suggestible (yet I have a pretty good idea from my reading what the conventional medicine trajectory would suggest.). It is so immensely helpful to be learning of and meeting people who are long-term (16 or more years after 4th stage diagnosis) cancer copers who simply seemed to rewrite the “script”.
    So true about the mundane activities our attention must go to while balancing/entertaining thoughts of how we’d like to direct our time..
    I’m trying to remember to breathe as part of hitching mind to body and staying in the moment.
    And to have gratitude in all things, as you have been my most consistent helpful reminder of lately.
    Alleluia in all things.
    “Breathe gratitude. Breathe Alleluia.”
    That’s the mantra I’m working on today.
    Thank you for your quite wonderful sharing of yourself. It is a boost to the spirit and a source of solace to me personally. I love the image of the shaft of light.
    With much appreciation,
    and prayer your way.

    • Mary, I am so glad to have met you – you enrich my life.
      Also, I love this: who simply seemed to rewrite the “script”.
      Like you, I am both highly suggestible and I tend to follow my role in the script. What a great thought, to rewrite it. This idea is huge for me. Thank you.
      Glad we can rewrite the script together!

  2. Pingback: On turning 45 | Yinyangmother

  3. Marie,
    Regarding the “script”, Judith, one of the leaders at the 4:00 Sunday Tong Ren, told a revealing anecdote to me regarding Dr. Groopman at a conference she attended. You may be interested to hear of her personal journey that led to Tong Ren, for, as a nurse continuing to work in the field, and as someone who has experienced a serious health threat herself, she has a wide perspective.

    I hope I can get together with her soon to hear more of her story.

  4. Thank you! This is beautiful and, in ways I can’t entirely describe, inspirational. Getting to see you last week, and see the depth of joy and appreciation of everything around you – how real that joy is – makes your writing even more beautiful. Again, thank you!

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