To life, to life, l’chaim

Last week, I attended shiva for Linda and had the honour of meeting some of her amazing family. It was so special to get a stronger sense of what Linda’s life was like, and the people she surrounded herself with. I felt so lucky to have had her come into my life, even though it was for much too short a time. I do believe that people enter our lives for a reason, and I feel that Linda left such a wonderful legacy behind, and taught me many lessons, for which I am very grateful. Her family told me of how much Linda had admired my attitude and my honesty, but I hope they know that the feeling was completely mutual, and I felt a true kindred spirit in Linda.

Of course, despite it truly being a celebration of her life, I still felt a deep sadness, as I’m sure most did. It is always so sad when someone dies much too early. This unshakable feeling of a life unfinished. Cut short. Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever feels ready to go, when it’s their “time”. Is it easier when you’re 90 vs. 30? Or does it always feel as if life just sped right by you, without there ever being enough time to do and see all that you planned.

Since getting diagnosed with cancer, I’ve thought to myself if I could live just until “middle age”, that would be enough and I’d be satisfied and grateful for the extra years I got. But I’m certain if I make it to that point (and I hope I do), that I won’t feel any more ready to go. That it won’t be any easier. When life is good, it is natural to get greedy and want more. More years, more experiences, more trips, more love, more laughter. More living.

I do feel more pressure to live my life to the fullest and make every day count and fulfill the requirements of countless cliches. I think it would be almost impossible not to feel this way, when you know your days could be limited and that a long life and old age is not a certainty, but more of an abstract concept. A hopeful wish. A perhaps, rather than a definitely.

The strange thing is, even with this pressure and this fear safely tucked in the back of my mind, I don’t really want to do anything different. I don’t want to jump out of a plane, or climb the tallest mountain or run away to an exotic part of the world and leave my life behind. If my life were a movie, I feel like that’s what my character would do.

But what I want most of all, what I dream of, is a normal, long life. Filled with the mundane, with splashes and sprinkles of excitement thrown in here and there for good measure. I want family, and traditions, and changing seasons. Lazy nights and long days. Eventually, wrinkles, and some grey hairs (or any hair, really).

When it comes down to it, I just want my life to go on. I don’t need anything to change, and I don’t want to be a poster girl for how cancer can miraculously change your life for the better. I just want to be able to feel that when my time is up, I’ll know I lived the life I was meant to.  Nothing particularly extraordinary. Nothing filled with daring adventures and endless excitement.  Just life. Boring, typical, beautiful life.

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10 thoughts on “To life, to life, l’chaim

  1. Steph, I know you are young, but you have an old soul. You are so wise beyond your years. I know so many other people would agree with me. I have learned from you and your writings,and from my wonderful husband what cancer is all about. We feel we live each dayto the fullest. Life is truly a gift and we should enjoy it. Thanks again for all you have taught us about cancer and life love you Rhoda and Sherwin

  2. Another wonderful post, Steph, that prompts us to reflect on our lives and what is truly important. You have a gift in being able to convey your thoughts and feelings in such a perceptive and honest way.
    Love,
    Bobby and Marilyn

  3. Boring typical beautiful life is a pretty good thing too I think 🙂
    Not many people see the importance in the little things, yet they are probably the most important. Love feeling your sense of gratitude towards these “things”
    Another beautifully written post. 🙂

  4. Love the questions you raise. They are so thought provoking.
    The way I see it, dying is for the old in the circle of life. When the body and mind start to struggle, life becomes less enjoyable and one resigns to the fact that the pleasures of life do not out weigh the pain. To quote my mother, “there are worse things than dying”.
    But for the young there is so much to still experience, enjoy and figure out in living. The circle of life is incomplete and it is a damn cheat to not be given the full 100 years!
    May we all be given our birth-right to draw the full circle!
    Cheers,
    Stephanie in LA

  5. Brilliant post, thank you. This is just how I feel; I don’t want cancer to change me or my life, I was quite happy until it came on the scene! I know it will leave some marks I can’t even see yet, but really I just want to keep loving my life, however long it is, just as it is. x

  6. ❤ As I read this newest blog, I thought back to when I was a very young girl and your Dad was so sick. Middle age looks pretty good on your Dad!! I also thought…..wow…he has such a beautiful FAMILY! I hope this blog gets published as a book and it is always on the table in the Hospital in the Chemo Unit. You are an inspiration. XO

    1. Thank you Gail 🙂 And I think my dad might be past middle age, although he might not like to admit it… unless he lives to be 120, which he just might. xo

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