I do not consider myself particularly brave, despite all the times I’ve been told this. I’m not brave. I’m just doing what I have to do. We can call it bravery, but it’s really just a bad hand I’ve been dealt. My options are to play it or do nothing. There is no bravery here. Only quiet persistence. I choose to continue.
There is no fight. I am not fighting anything, except perhaps random bouts of overwhelming emotion. I guess I don’t really fight those, either. I just excuse myself to the bathroom and take deep breaths in the mirror. This is not the worst thing, I think to myself. You are not sick. You caught it in time.
The “what if” part was the worst of it, and once the MRI showed that it hadn’t spread beyond what was already being removed, I could breathe. Waiting was worse than knowing.
I feel changed. I look around rooms and wonder who has some secret ailment, who is doing this same silent dance. I delight in being around strangers who don’t know anything about me. I think about my future with a sense of calm. I am not afraid of it. I am thankful to have it.
This is perhaps the lesson I needed to learn from my experience. What matters, what doesn’t. The lucky opportunity to watch my family and friends grow old, versus whatever piddly thing I was so worried about.
The wedding, for example.
Like any bride, I fussed over details. I researched proper etiquette, which makes me laugh now. How stupid is wedding etiquette? Now I visualize that day months from now, perfect or not, as an accomplishment, perhaps the proudest one of my life. I made it. We made it. Look what our love can endure.
I am not saying that little problems don’t help you. They shape your experience. They teach you how to behave should the situation arise again. But they will not be your undoing. They will be the first to go when shit actually hits the fan.
So, to all of you reading this, I thank you for your support. Your texts, gifts, notes and emails have given me much needed laughter and positivity, which was sometimes difficult to muster on my own. I am deeply moved by how many people showed that they care.
This is almost over, and it leaves me better than it found me.