There’s this thing that happens as we get older. The doors start to close. The things we once thought might be possible, the people we have known, or worse, the people we have loved, start to fall away from us. In many ways, life begins a cascade of irrevocable changes and shifts that make us mindful of our own short years on this planet.
I don’t know if it is normal to start recognizing these things at my age, 36. Cancer certainly has changed that for me. My friends die, and they die regularly. It’s an experience I didn’t expect at this point in life. I thought it would happen at some place in time when I was older, wiser, and perhaps more or less expecting such loss.
I thought these things wouldn’t happen until I’m a grownup. Then I look around and notice the three children I’m raising, the home I pay for, the people I employ and I realize with a startling clarity that I am the grownup. I am even starting to have the wrinkles and age spots to prove it.
These moments make me yearn for the time BC (before cancer). The time when I was on the sunny side of my thirties and the years stretched out before me like Dorothy’s yellow brick road. I feel like I missed a chunk of time. My illness and the mental and physical setbacks makes me feel like I was violently thrown forward several decades in my life.
Since then I have been trying to manually turn back the miles on the odometer, one by one. The grueling effort to regain my mind and my body has so far pulled this weary time traveler down from my late seventies to somewhere in my fifties. Change is still coming, but there is a lot of ground to cover.
Life will continue to evolve, I know this. I just wasn’t expecting the changes to be so big and so permanent.Tonight I read about more loss. I read about the death of a friend’s parent. He is a friend whom I love dearly, he treated me well and helped shape me into the woman I am today. He was my first love, and his sadness absolutely breaks my heart.
Tonight I am caught between the teenage girl who loved through her own hurt and loss and the woman I am today. Tonight I see the many, many ways loss will compound itself over time, how it will shape shift and slide into the fractures of my heart and crack it open again and again.
Tonight I realize that although my heart breaks for him, I cannot comfort him. I cannot give him anything. The forces of time and distance have worn away our friendship, and I am not what he needs anymore.
I am learning that I am powerless against time. I cannot go back. I cannot slow down the inevitable paradigm shifts that are coming on the horizon. I cannot change the losses of relationships and people. I must learn to accept every wave that comes crashing to shore and try my very best to keep my head above water.
Give ‘Em Hell
To CM: Geronimo, my friend. God speed.