I shouldn’t be sitting here writing this right now. I should not be sitting here ruminating on what is to come. I should be trudging away on final papers, grading and that dreaded dissertation.
I shouldn’t be sitting here looking at the calendar and counting down the days to my next surgery. There’s ten by the way. There are just ten days until I make the familiar trek into the cold, sterile hallways of the hospital and await my fate, whatever that may be.
I shouldn’t be sitting right here and thinking about that because life is too full to be wasting it on such matters. Yes, the surgery is big, it is staggeringly big, but I’ve been here before and life, it is so full of so much else.
I shouldn’t be sitting here fixated on the calendar. I should be fixated on all the beautiful things that are filling it up until that dreaded day. Holiday events, deadlines for creations and ideas, parties, galas, time for love and pie and laughter.
I shouldn’t be sitting here replaying the mixed up, upside down memories of all the surgeries past. I shouldn’t be focused on the pit in my stomach and the goosebumps going down my arms. It’s just that, it snuck up on me. I pushed it down, down, down. I neglected it, I denied it the force it will have on my life with such a gusto, I almost – just barely – forgot it was a part of my story.
I shouldn’t be sitting here right now doing this – there is too much else to do. But alas, I am sitting here right now, immersed deeply in this moment of acknowledgement of what is to come. It is not fear exactly, I fear no fate because my life has been so staggeringly complicated and beautiful. It is not dread alone, because I do not solely dread it. It is not hope in the way hope exists with deep expectation, because my faith in the process is staggeringly low. It is not disbelief, as I have known this was the only way out of this spinal fluid leak. It just is this moment that is a bit too large to dissect and understand. Chills run down my back with every thought about the cuts, the pills, the pain, the healing. The knots in my stomach tighten and release as they grip my body. My back twitches, the muscle memory of the pressure of an uneven body irks me as I correct my sideways posture. Maybe I shouldn’t be sitting here right now, tuning into every bit of my flesh but I am.
I am sitting here, preparing, or perhaps just acknowledging where I have been, where I am going, and where I am now.
I can’t fully articulate my moment, so I am turning to someone much wiser than I…
“I finally understand what Julie Norem meant when she told me that one could be simultaneously anxious and happy. The assurances are momentary, at best half comforting, like being told “That’s not a man in your room. It’s just your clothes draped over the back of a chair casting a shadow, see? However, there IS, actually an insane, knife wielding murderer loose in the neighborhood. G’night.”
Everybody’s got something. In the end, what choice does one really have but to understand that truth, to really take it in, and then shop for groceries, get a haircut, do one’s work; get on with the business of one’s life.
That’s the hope, anyway.” – David Rakoff (may he rest in peace and look down on us with his familiar wit and worry)
T-minus ten days.
See you on the other side (or in one of those beautiful things that fill the spaces between now and then).
Peace and love,