Monday, September 10, 2012

How many more sunrises?

As I sat at my kitchen table this almost autumn morning, a thought came to me as I looked out my back window. How many more sunrises will I get to see?

I don't always have thoughts like this. Even when I was practicing hospice nursing, and saw so much death each and every week did I have a thought like this.

But recently, death has hit closer to home. Not my family, but people I know who are my age who have been diagnosed with cancer. And it has affected me more than I realize.

This morning was a quiet, peaceful slow morning.  After weeks of unrelenting "busy-ness," with travel, a family wedding to attend to out of state, a new puppy to adjust to and getting my daughter ready for junior high school (I was more stressed than she), I finally had a morning all to myself.  And my thoughts slowed down to the moment. And that moment felt so powerful.

I suppose that is why we keep busy. Quiet moments to reflect on things are not always peaceful.  Sometimes they make us think about things we would much rather avoid.  They can be powerful and sometimes overwhelming.

And not thoughts of our own demise or anything like that. But maybe we think about how much we miss someone.  Or will miss someone who is ill. Or maybe we think about a past painful emotional injury that we have kept buried. Or we think about how fast time flies and about things that we want to do but never seem to make time for. And it makes us sad, or empty or longing. 

And then we soon find something that needs done to distract us and make us too busy to think about them again.  At least for a while.

I don't know. I guess my thoughts were with my friends who are going to face their toughest battle.  Not with the cancer itself; but with the treatments, the horrible side effects, the disruption of their everyday lives, the impact on their husbands and kids. It is all so overwhelming. And I know it is. I have seen it. And I pray I never have to experience it because it is awful. It really is. But I also know it is coming. Maybe not cancer per se, but something. Eventually. And I felt like I really need to slow down now, right now while I am in my early 50's and while I am fortunate enough to sit at my table with my cup of tea looking out my window and enjoying a peaceful morning feeling good.

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower