Here I am finally!...I seem to be avoiding writing the past little while. It is like a pall has come over me and yet in many ways it is not really about me. There seems to be a darkness that surrounds me, and at the same time I feel almost narcissistic acknowledging it. I know that life happens even when your own life seems to be in chaos. What bothers me, is that right now I want to celebrate my life and it seems that all around me life is ending. As much as I want to move away I know that I can't. These people are important to me and I owe it to both them and myself to support and comfort. them. The problem is that many times, in the quiet moments alone, I feel like it is a foreboding of what is to come in my own life.
That does sound a bit melodramatic, and I do know that eventually I will die. It is very difficult to explain, although I think anyone who has dealt with cancer or any other serious illness that may be terminal knows what I am trying to say. On the one hand, you want to be a part of the everyday, which unfortunately includes the sadness and loss, yet there is a part of you that wants to block that out because it resonates too much within your own being. When I attend a funeral, I see myself there. I see the mourners as my family and friends. On another side, my mind is looking at the funeral and determining what parts I would like in my own and what parts I would take out. I am now a funeral critic!!!! It is a very complicated mix of emotions. Needless to say, I don't want to attend funerals. The irony is, that because of my professional career, it is a constant in my life, both at a professional level as well as a personal level. I used to be able to put my 'chaplain' hat on and go through it without too much anguish, but I can't seem to do that anymore. My own funeral seems to close, especially at these times.
Interestingly, I was given a real window into my own feelings recently. I was looking after a friends 10 year old niece who was too upset to go to her grandmother's funeral, although at the time it was not that clear what was upsetting her so much. She and I remained behind to look after things at the house. During our time together we talked about her grandmother and she admitted to me quite reservedly that she really didn't want to go to the funeral b/c she wanted to remember her grandmother in happier times, which for her was at the house. Without even a thought, I blurted out "why do you think I am here too, I didn't want to go to the funeral either". She looked at me surprised (an adult who feels the same way I do) and said "you didn't want to go to the funeral either????" As if her feelings were the ones that were wrong and she shouldn't have felt that way. I told her not everyone can handle funerals and it was o.k. to say so. So, why couldn't I have just admitted it.......out of the mouths of babes God allows our truest fears to be revealed. I never really minded funerals before, I found them quiet, peaceful events where life was celebrated rather than morbid and sad. I think seeing myself in the funeral has taken that peacefulness away.
I have changed since finding out I have cancer again (or rather we can actually see it now). My doctor reminds me that I have always had the cancer just there are periods of time it isn't visible. I will continue to participate in the lives of those I care about, just as they will support and care for me when I need it. I watched the movie "Into the Wild" directed by Sean Penn yesterday and it was very reflective.....at one point it says "the softening that occurs due to the forced reflection caused by loss" (powerful statement). I am a living example of that statement. I think in many ways that is what is happening to me these days. It is not that funerals and death have not bothered me or made me uncomfortable, it is just because of my recent experiences, I have softened enough to reflect on how I really feel and actually admit it.
Life is certainly a interesting study in how the human spirit grows and evolves............