Falling With Style

When Buzz Lightyear tries to tell Woody he can fly in the film Toy Story, Woody correctly, if not brutally insists, “That wasn’t flying, that was falling with style!” In the end, Buzz accepts his limitations and Woody becomes more gracious about his new friend’s worldview. 

I appreciate Woody’s perspective even if it did come from a place of fear and sadness over being dethroned as the favorite. As for my own brutal honesty, it’s what comes out when I am brave enough and strong enough to be seen. (I’m reaching for another sip of wine now.) Whew, okay. Here we go.

  • The kids and Tom left today. I know I will see them again. I know people go longer without seeing their children. Still, it’s 3-4 weeks away. I will never forget how I tried to call out to them behind the security line to say one final goodbye and no words would come out. I wanted to run to them, close the distance between us in seconds and hold them in my arms. But I couldn’t say a word. My throat was too tight with sorrow and grief. I watched as Sophie’s blonde hair bobbed out of sight and then felt the gut punch of cancer. I walked through the airport bleary eyed with tears until I made it to my car where I started to gasp for air and scroll mindlesslessly to set the next destination on my phone’s navigation. I fumbled and fumbled with the app. No, google, I don’t know where I’m headed. 
  • On rage: I don’t have a lot of anger about cancer. It’s just not where my mind goes most of the time. But sometimes, even though it’s rare, I get furious. Being separated from my family (particularly thinking about the impact on the girls) makes me want to throw things. I once kicked a trash can in a private stall in an airport bathroom- the most aggressive act I’ve had this entire time. It indented upon force and then immediately…no… instantly…popped back in to shape. It was so unimpressed with my anger that it went back to being completely unaffected instantaneously. You can imagine this was largely unsatisfying if not also kind of impressive. Well played, universe. Well played.
  • Oh poor me” moments aside, I did have a nice time with my family this weekend. We celebrated Sophie’s birthday, we went up the Space Needle and to the Science Museum. We went indoor skydiving even where I fell with some style. We were a family and even though I was too tired to walk through the museum, everyone took turns pushing me around in the wheelchair. There are solutions to these problems! A highlight includes looking over at my husband as we watched a (cough cough…boring) presentation on the moons of Jupiter. He was enthralled. He had read about it, of course, and watched with the rapt attention I might give to say, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. It was so sweet to be reminded of his interests and passions. I fell in love with him because he is so many things that I admire: funny, intelligent, curious, kind, generous, selfless, loving. For a few moments in that planetarium I felt those old blushes of love bubble up in me. I looked at him like I did 13 years ago. It was so heart warming and hope inspiring to be visited by glimpses of our former selves. Those people who were less burdened, who had energy to give and exchange with the other, and who were not so buried under life’s complexities. I feel like I saw him again. And my God, I’ve missed that face.
  • I now have a 3 year old and a 6 year old. Soon, I will also celebrate(?) one year of cancer under my belt. I have no idea what to do in this awkward moment. I’m walking up on it like a strange dog. It might be all happy and energized or the thing might bite my hand. Either way. It’s coming and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
  • After speaking at the Moth, I realize I want more of my time and energy to be committed to speaking and writing and learning from and listening to people. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what makes me feel helpful and useful in this world. I am still a lawyer, but I want to honor the direction I feel I am being pulled. If I know anyone out there who has good leads on how to make these passions more professional, please please let me know. 
  • As hard as it is to be out here with out my girls and Tom, it’s probably a pretty big piece of putting together the puzzle of my life. I’m learning why the hard things are hard and I’m getting to a point where I can extract the meaning and lesson laid within them. It is hard to sit and stare at myself and at my behavior. I have to really wonder after a while, “What am I doing?” Then I have to formulate the ideal in my mind and compare reality to that. The icky part is the mess in between that doesn’t match up. I have to look at what drives what I do, how I feel about things, what stories I’m telling myself, and sometimes I have to rewrite the script. It’s not easy. It’s the hardest emotional work I’ve done this entire time. But I am in good, loving hands with my host family and now my mom is out here with me for a few days to make sure I take it easy. Hopefully I continue to develop and improve. 
  • As long as the days are sometimes, considering the work I have to do, there hardly seems like enough time. I’m taking it day by day, being gentle with myself as the cumulative radiation has its way with me. I’m more easily physically tired (hence the wheelchair at the museum) and I miss being able to just go out and hit it with a long hard walk. So short bursts and then rest for me now. Which seems like a reasonable way to approach everything, doesn’t it?

Be good to yourselves.


Give ‘Em Hell.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. William Hanson says:

    Your energy remains and underlies the continuing struggle to be yourself when all the challenges before you just want to suck it out of you. Good for you, and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy Spethman says:

    Beautifully written as always. I could feel the depths of your pain, watching your girls walk away and being speechless to the outside world. You are able to evoke so much feeling with your writing. Your love for Tom in that moment puts a smile on my face! Thank you for your tremendous strength in sharing your personal journey with all of us and allowing us to peak through a kaleidoscope to see the many peaks and valleys of your journey! You are incredible Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

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