These thoughts have been weighing on me for awhile so I thought maybe if I got them down, I would be free of them. Here’s hoping.
When it is time, when my treatments run out, when my body has had enough, even if my spirit hasn’t, I have a few requests. I don’t want anyone to refer to me as a fighter, as strong, as someone who waged a battle against cancer. This hasn’t been a war, this has just been my life. I woke up every day since my MBC diagnosis trying to do my best to live, to smile, to laugh, to take my medicine, to will my body to reclaim itself, to keep the disease at bay. I cried an awful lot and I never felt like a warrior. I was just someone trying to live even in the face of significant health challenges. I took myself to doctors, to treatments, to scans, because I had no choice. I made jokes with nurses and aides and techs because I simply did not know what else to say most of the time. I tried to thank all the people who have been there for me and not focus on those who disappointed me. I tried to live a good life amidst the darkness. That’s what I want you to say about me.
Being Catholic means I have gone to about a zillion wakes and funeral masses, starting when I was very young. It’s just what you do as Catholics. Being Catholic is a huge part of my identity, even if I struggle with many of the Church’s teachings. I don’t know if I want a wake or a funeral mass or any of that and I am not quite ready to go down that path of thinking just yet. And there’s no reason to think I have to. But I do know that I want those who have been there for me acknowledged. There’s an emphasis placed on ‘blood family’ and certainly my immediate family deserves a place of honor. But my friends, those who held my hand, came to appointments, visited me in the hospital, dropped everything to attend to my needs, those are the people who I want featured front and center.
And to M. People will place their own expectations on him. On what he should do, how he should act, how he should seem. And I will ask that everyone does their very best to not judge him. I know what he is capable of and I accept it. He has my whole heart and the last few years have been horrible for him. Support him, check on him, make sure he is as okay as he can be.
Oh, and one last request — play “Treat People with Kindness.”