Thursday, April 18, 2013


The leaves have budded out on most of the trees, our rose bushes across the front of the house under our sun room windows are filling out nicely, and flowers are blooming everywhere in the warmth of the sun.  Today is gloriously gorgeous, and I'm soaking in the beauty of the morning with everything I have.

It is good to be me today.

Funny how a brush with cancer can really put the rest of your life into rather harsh perspective, accentuating the areas where you know -- and have known for a while -- that you needed to step up your game or even shed something unwanted.  Clutter, pounds, irritation, etc., you name it, I have allowed it to pile on and weigh me down in spades by not paying attention and just running around from obligation to obligation without pausing to really think deeply about the next thing.  It's funny how the accumulated baggage of living your life unconsciously -- really, allowing your life to live you instead of the other way around -- can add up to a heavy bunch of extraneous crapola that you drag around behind you.  

But this health crisis has had a good side, too.

It also has the wonderful ability to shine a spotlight on all those things you cherish and enjoy, but rarely find the time to stop and appreciate.  It has certainly helped me to focus.

Having spent a few days mentally preparing myself for tomorrow's surgery, I can tell you that the good things really pop out at you so much more when your brain is allowed to be fully conscious of them when they happen.

Yesterday evening, The Peanut and I curled up together in a rocking chair, and I just sat there, rocking her back and forth with me, and soaking in the fact that she still wants to be close, yet is old enough to also want to comfort me because she knows that I'm scared about all of this, too.  It was a sweet, poignant moment.  Usually, we are running so quickly from one thing to the next that stopping to savor that sadly gets the short end of my attention span, but not last night...we lingered in our little hug, me breathing in the sweet strawberry smell of her favorite conditioner clinging to her still-wet hair from her bath, and just loving the moment and the sweetness of my baby girl who has grown into such a lovely and caring young lady.

If there is a benefit to any of this breast cancer mess, it is this:  it is clearer than ever to me that my life, my family and those who care about me, the whole of what I do and how I live in my day to is all really, really good.

My husband loves me.  A lot.  That has always been clear because we are soulmates and were meant to be together from the start (how lucky are we?).  But it has never been more apparent than right now just how much love we have between us.

Crisis tends to really bring out the core of someone -- heaven knows we've been through enough of those the past few years -- and, the past few weeks since my diagnosis, both of us have been really savoring the gentle hugs and hand holding and all the other tender little moments that well up for us over the course of a day, and accumulate over our lifetime.  It is such a blessing to have someone I can not only count on, but who also lifts me up and somehow gets me to laugh at the absurdity of it all when the world around me feels dark.  I am very, very lucky.

Our daughter?  She is not just our miracle, she is a wonderfully compassionate, sensitive smart little cookie.  And she gives the best hugs in all the world.

Our home is full of love and caring every single day.  I may feel it more keenly at the moment, but it is there, has been there, our entire time together.

It's funny, but when you are staring down a diagnosis like this, the extraneous malarky, the petty and juvenile, the clearly banal and idiotic, it all just sort of melts away ans the inconsequential filler that it is.  The important things in your life stand out in stark contrast, like signposts marking the path that you want to take:  family, friends, reaching out and caring, savoring the good moments when they happen and not after the fact because you suddenly realize that "someday" may not be there down the road like you thought it would and so living for right now is far more important than putting something off.

What seems like eons ago, after my sister-in-law Amy passed away far too young, I did a series of posts on the lessons I learned from Amy's untimely passing.  One that stands out for me is this:
That dream you've been nursing along in your secret heart?  The one you won't even admit to yourself is there, but it always has been, just waiting for you to take the leap of faith and go for it?  Seize the day.
If there ever were a time to seize the day, it would be now.

Since the diagnosis, I have tried my best to take the glass half full path, as my surgeon calls it.  Because, as he said and he is absolutely right in this, "the glass half full path is a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the half empty one."  This has been a scary time, and one that I would not wish on anyone, with all of the testing and uncertainty, and constant jumping through one fiery hoop after another that comes with a diagnosis like this.  But at the same time, it has been a renewal of sorts, a brush with refiner's fire that has singed away some of the dross and made the good things stand out more clearly.

No matter how long you may have on this little spinning blue planet of ours, every day we have is precious.  The renewal from thinking about my life in terms of what I really, truly want to do right now in this very moment is huge:  throwing away a lot of the accumulated weight of years of baggage has been incredibly freeing. 

Right now is what matters.  Right now is what we have, because there is no guarantee of down the road.  So, when do I start really working toward my dreams?  Right now.

Carpe diem has never been more alive and well for me.  It is time:  seize your own day.

(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith.  All rights reserved.)

1 comment:

Molly said...

Thoughts of healing and caring to you, Christy. I wish you all the best tomorrow, and hope for a good outcome.