The idea of “fighting for time,” didn’t occur to me until a few weeks ago. From the beginning of this journey in 2010, I was fighting for my life. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I really got the idea; with every surgery I felt that this procedure would be the one. Now, it’s apparent, with the speed that the cancer has returned, that I really am fighting for time.
No one knows how much time I have left. No one knows when their life will be up. My life time expiration date is just coming a little quicker than others. So there are things to be done.
I wrote a post called, “Bucket List,” a few months ago. I, in my polite way, railed against the term. And now here I am making a list. And just like bucket lists, I have my lifetime to check the items off the list. Here it is:
1. I purchased three different journals. Quinn’s has line drawings of octopus, and closes with a rope latch. Mac’s is a handsome, thin leather book with an imprint of the sun on the front. Stella’s is dark dark purple with the letter “S”. I am a storyteller with an amazing memory. I plan to fill the journals with the stories about the kids I tell over and over. I’ve had the journals for over a week. It’s been hard to crack one open and start writing. I wish I had been doing this all along; but I also thought I’d be telling the stories in my own voice for many more years.
2. Letters. A friend suggested to me writing letters to the kids around important events. A letter when you finish eighth grade; one when you fall in love; one for when your heart is broken….
3. You’d think after all of these years of having cancer that I would have completed important documents like an advanced care directive. (Something everyone should have.) I’ve done none of that stuff.
4. I may not get my book finished; but I can leave notes and writing so that maybe someday it can be put together and published. I still think it is an important piece of writing.
5. Return to Oregon.
6. Letters to others besides my family. I could spend weeks writing to people who have meant something to me in my life. From my aunts and uncles to members of the Mormon congregation I grew up in, to friends I’ve had since grade school.
7. Scanning photos. I have an amazing collection of photographs dating back to before my birth. And embarrassing ones of friends that should be shared.
Those are the “specific” tasks. The open ended tasks include, of course, spending as much quality time as possible with my family, getting to the ocean more often, kissing Adrienne, and being outside.
I don’t feel desperate about getting these things done. I know it’s not a time to procrastinate. As much as I’ve felt it with my life, I feel it with my death: I want to do it right.