Friday, May 16, 2014

The 4 Channels

If denial about an illness is like being in outer space -- silent, surreal, with the unfathomable beyond, and the gorgeous, glowing Earth still in sight -- then disclosure about said illness is like a rocket re-entering the atmosphere -- high velocity, noise, flames, then a parachute and a jarring yet successful water landing. While in the "re-entry" phase I clutched to an initial coping machine that consisted of four channels: Science, Grief, Exhaustion, and Game Face.

In Science there was to be found test results, conversations with doctors, medical articles, clinical trial descriptions, data, statistics, cycles, patient education material and a gradual realization I would not find that much specifically pertinent to my case, nor would I find much good news. But still the pull of the literature can be repeatedly seductive.

Grief was a technicolor mix of morbid indulgence, pity party, fantasy, tragedy, howling, sadness. Compulsively wallowed in but not for any length of time.

Exhaustion was a quiet, in-between no-man's land of a channel, white noise really, and rest.

And Game Face, well that one was on most of the time, it must be said. You get  up in the morning, get the kids to school, drive to work singing "Cabaret" in the best voice you can muster, answer emails, have lunch, talk to people, drive home singing Cabaret again, make dinner, talk to people, shepherd kids through homework/reading/toothbrushing/bed, do chores, and if you're lucky spend a few moments one on one with your wife.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Be Here Now

I have but one life to live, and I just found out it may be a little shorter than I'd planned. But then again, life is what happens when you're making other plans, right? It's too bad because I've recently befriended a woman, and now I don't know quite what to do about her. Her name is Gogo and she is 80 years old. She is short (shorter than me!), has a slight hunch to her back and a twinkle in her eye. Silver white hair. Never stops moving (hence the name). Small, spritely, quick like a bird - grandmother-on-the-go, concentrated energy. She doesn't sleep much at night, but takes a siesta religiously. Always curious. The truth is...Gogo is me in about 30 years. So. What to do with her? Well, I'm going to do what we do in our household. Invite her in! Set a place at the table. Include her in the party. Let her be here now. Because that's what we're doing, that's what I'm trying to do.
"...Be here now, no other place to be
All the doubts that linger, just set them free
And let good things happen, and let the future come
Into each moment, like a rising sun…"

--Mason Jennings ,"Be Here Now"