Because next to no one reads this little space where I randomly, haphazardly throw my thoughts into the cosmos, I often feel free to do just that. No one reads, no one comments, or if they do, I don't know about it, so I might as well just be me and get words off my chest.
I just got home from a perfectly flowing day. In spite of getting out of bed 20 minutes later than I had planned, everything was on schedule. I showered, threw dinner in the crockpot (it's some serious comfort food), drove to Naperville to visit my grandma in the hospital, drove to Bolingbrook to get stuff printed out, drove to Aurora to finalize permit garbage, and got home before 1 PM. As I'm getting out of the car, my mom calls and tells me my grandpa (who just had lung cancer surgery) is in the ICU on a ventilator because his breathing stopped, and he has abdominal bleeding. This is in addition to several other complications that have arisen since having the surgery.
I'm calm. I don't cry on the phone. I have that terrible habit sometimes of keeping my voice the same so I don't upset the person I'm talking to, then melting as soon as I'm alone. As soon as I hung up and got in the door I crashed. My throat hurts. Where do all these tears come from? Verses, doubts, trust, anger - it all surges. Everything all mixed together. I like things organized and in labeled folders. I'm not ready for this.
Both sides of my family have died from some form of cancer. Seriously. Almost all of them. When I was old enough to finally understand, this fact is what prompted my obsession with the more organic, natural way of eating, especially. I hate hospitals. I've been to the doctor only twice since I was 8 years old (that's 12 years). Needles and surgery and mistakes and money. I hate it all.
So my grandpa's in the ICU in AL. My grandma is in the hospital recovering from a double mastectomy (cancer strikes again). These are my only grandparents. My dad's parents both died of cancer in just a few weeks - one in 1993, the other in 2007. I'm really and truly tired of cancer destroying and taking my family.
While visiting my grandma this morning, I read her a poem. It's called Tulips and it's by a woman named Sylvia Plath. Look it up. Clicking a link is too easy and passive. I want you to want to read it. If I'm ever in a hospital bed with cancer (heaven forbid), I believe this poem embodies some of the feelings and thoughts that will be running through my mind.
I'm shivering, not just with the cold and the damp. I am afraid of "I love yous" left unsaid, and poems left unread, and smiles held back, and words kept bottled up. The time is now. Don't waste a day. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. And whether it's cancer, or a car wreck, or simply old age, God will choose some way for us to go. As Tuck says in Natalie Babbitt's beautiful book Tuck Everlasting, "Don't fear death. Fear the unlived life."
I want to make every moment count.