Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with a small cancer. Nothing major at all. Nothing grand. A pesky malignant nodule, the size of a shriveled plum, sitting insidiously over my Thyroid was surgically removed. It took a bit of a toll on me, but I am much better now, thank you. I am, as medical professionals peremptorily declared; “in remission” – suspended temporarily between life and death, as we all are, most often in blissful denial.
Nothing has changed. It’s not like I didn’t know. “Life is a sexually transmitted fatal disease,” once answered Woody Allen when asked about the meaning of life. As incurable and fatal as can be. Or as is said in the famous Dylan song; “He not busy being born is busy dying” … “But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.” Our very own alpha and omega – nothing more and nothing less.
« – Eh bien oui. Vos jours sont comptés. A mon avis dans le meilleur des cas vous en avez encore pour 30 ou 40 ans. Maximum.
– Mais ce si ce n’est pas un cancer, comment s’appelle cette maladie ?
– C’est la vie.
– La vie ? Vous voulez dire que je suis…
– Vivant, oui, hélas.
– Mais où est-ce que j’ai pu attraper une pareille saloperie ? »
Despite hearing the tic-tock of the clock with deeper acuity, with greater urgency, I still struggle to let myself indulge on life, its joys and pleasures. I still plan for tomorrow, for greater love and happiness once over the hill. I still have much hope for the future. I fully grasp the nature of our Sisyphean destinies; yet somehow still resist living fully in the moment, for the moment. I often wish I were more selfish and ignorant. I try but always fail.
A few weeks ago, I heard Jonathan, Guy and Sarah Bennett talk affectionately, brilliantly and radiantly of their deeply loved Gillian – kindhearted wife and mother, generous amongst the righteous. It hurt at lot, but it also gave me renewed faith and courage. Her words of bravery and generosity are here for all to see and to hear forever.