I could not have asked for better clarity this year, 2020. Could not and would not have asked, yet, all the same I received. Not as flashing lights on New Year’s Eve. I would have put that down to flares and fireworks. No, I was already sick by New Year’s Eve, since Christmas night, and missed it all. I was running a temperature, pain in my gut, and pain on swallowing – I don’t want to bore you with all the medical details – but I eventually went to the doctor because I imagined I was dying. At first he said it was a virus and I needed to rest but I felt much worse a week later and so, on my birthday, I went back to him.
‘Because of your history with cancer it is best to get blood tests and an ultrasound to check your organs,’ he said to me.
Once you have had cancer, that shadow hounds you forevermore which is possibly why I do go for regular check-ups and imagine I am dying. The threat of cancer, on my birthday was no laughing matter. As I waited for my ultrasound appointment, it was as if time stood still and I went through my life’s check and balances, so to speak. I had been stuck at a particular crossroad for a while.
I asked myself: ‘would you be ready to die now if you have cancer again?’… ‘yes’ I answered, ‘I have done everything I want to do, I have brought up my kids and they are leading their own lives; I have looked after my mother and mourned her death; I have had a happy marriage; I have run my art workshops,’ I trailed off…
I asked myself again: ‘are there any last minute things you want to do, any books you still want to read?’ It sounds really melodramatic but these were the thoughts going through my head. I answered: ‘no there are no last minute wishes or books I want to read.’ I continued: ‘I am 57 years old, who wants to live to be ancient, filling up the world’s space if I am going to be sick?’
Then I told Derek that if I die I want him to dispose of all my art and writing.
Once on the bed, having my ultrasound, I was insanely relieved that all my organs were normal! And when I was back in my doctor’s rooms I looked up at his shelf and saw a painting.
‘Did you paint that painting? I asked. ‘No’, he answered, ‘my patient of 96 painted it; she still writes, paints and travels to Greece every year’. Fancy that I thought. I could still be an active citizen at 96. I was inspired by her.
And that was my clarity or epiphany, in the doctor’s rooms; I can be an active citizen for as long as I have breath and choose to. I don’t have to only be active in one area of my life. I love creativity, writing, nature, gardening, people, environmental issues and I can live a full and vibrant life till I run out of breath. No matter how old you are, so long as you have interests, you must go for it!
It turned out in the end that I had a virus – glandular fever. Through it all I gained clarity and lost some weight. What I think is so cool is the 6th January is the feast of Epiphany, and my birthday. It is also when I had my personal epiphany or clarity.
I hope you have clarity too.