I was reminded recently how when I found out I had Ovarian Cancer all that really seemed important was my daughter and the other people I cared deeply for in my life. Everything else just seemed like extras not necessary to my existence. It was a time when memories were all that counted and material goods seemed pointless. (Read an earlier blog on how I sold everything!!!!...not necessarily the way to go either)
This week I became aware of how blessed I am. In 2001, I thought that my life was over and all the important events in my daughter's life would have to take place without me. One thing I decided to do was to enjoy every milestone as if it was the last. I had read about an individual who had been told he was dying of cancer, and he had 13 children still quite young. He placed thirteen frames on the wall, and was determined to fill each one of them with high school graduation pictures before he died. Well he succeeded and then put 13 more up for college, then weddings etc. I thought that I would do the same although I only had one frame to fill each time.
My daugher was 12 years old and had just completed grade 6 when our lives changed for ever. So, the first frame in my mind was her 13th birthday (teenager who else looks forward to that!). We made it and splurged on a trip to Toronto and saw the Lion King. What a weekend! One for the memory books. Then came Grade 8 graduation. Made that and filled the frame....then 16th birthday, 18th birthday, and the big one in my mind....High School Graduation. The best part of this frame is that I am in it with her....I worked at the high school and the principal allowed me to actually give her the diploma....OMG that was amazing...having never imagined that I would be on this earth and then to actually be in the picture...literally!
So, life has proceeded as such and the frames continue to be filled. Who would have imagined that I would participate in so much of her life when initially diagnosed and given maybe three years if all went really well. Well, last night we marked another milestone in her young adult life....no it wasn't marriage....it was the purchase of her first car. I was so excited when she came to pick me up and take me for a drive. I was 'over the moon' as they say. Times like these so many people take for granted, and yet in our life we have been blessed with realizing how precious they actually are.
When cancer entered my life, there was a time when I thought it was the beginning of the end. It may have happened like that and there are many times I have wondered why I am still here. Especially when so many others who I have known are not. But, I can't dwell in that place because there are no answers to that question. Instead I choose to just be in awe of the moments that I am given to watch my daughter grow up and to experience with her, and share with her memories of my own first experiences, and enjoy the moment. The moment is the only time we have......no other moment exists no matter what. Last night was another of those moments that I have framed in my mind....and a moment in her life that when I am gone forever she will have to smile about in memory of me. Memories, that's all that matters in the end.