Two years ago today my 3 lb. tumor, we lovingly called Boomer, was removed and sent to Harvard for cancer testing. (When told that, my husband sent a text message to our children stating “at least one of mom’s births went to an Ivy League school” — geez) For the three weeks, from its discovery to the end of my hospital stay, that crazy tumor was giving me gifts that I wouldn’t realize until now.
Gift One: Quit Worrying – During the days before surgery I prayed and made promises to God, my deceased parents, and deceased relatives and friends (all who could obviously put in a good word with the big Guy, for me). I promised that I’d be a better person, a better parent and a better friend. I’d do more to help others, stuff that really mattered, if only I lived through it. I had so many things yet to do like cure cancer, end anger in the world, make nuclear fusion easy, or something on that magnitude.
And for nearly two years, after the healing and learning to breathe again, I worried about which of those major feats I would accomplish and why I hadn’t started on them. Having only an associate’s degree in interior design, I was feeling a bit under-educated in the fields of medicine, nuclear science or world politics, so I continued to worry.
As its anniversary approached I became a little less critical of myself. In the two years since my surgery we sold a house, bought a house, packed and unpacked, and did it again. We made time to attend almost all my daughter’s soccer games and saw her graduate from college. We celebrated with our son the purchase of his new home, visited with friends and family, and were able to help out friends that were really in need. While it seemed as if I was standing still and not accomplishing anything, in reality I WAS doing something. I was working on becoming that ‘better’ person, learning to appreciate the gifts that were staring me right in the face.
In reflecting back, Boomer did leave me with quite a few gifts, like assessing what is really important, from what we perceive is important. It heightened my ability to sense other people’s emotions – sadness, fear, anger – which aids me in what direction I can help. It taught me to be more grateful for the things that ARE right in front of me, and it provided a venue that brought true friends to the surface and taught me how to say good-bye to the rest with love and grace.
So, on Boomer’s anniversary of departure I invite you to learn the lessons it left me, without having to get A LOT of stitches or use a bed pan.
Unfortunately, the curing of cancer or bombarding of atoms will just have to wait a little longer, since the “becoming that better person” is still a work in progress.
Grateful for you,