Monday, November 6, 2006

A Near Death Experience, Beforehand

Okay, I'm not going to die in surgery. But I can't keep my mind from wandering to that place. What if this is the last walk I take with my family? What if this is the last morning we spend snuggled in bed together? What if I never read them another chapter book? Is this the last hug, the last kiss, the last I love you?

I decided to write about it, because it appears that I have come to appreciate life in a way that many people find only after they have come near to death. Things like cancer, a car crash, or cardiac arrest...these are things that make people reassess their lives. The important things stick out, and the unimportant fall by the wayside.

It isn't just the fact that I am having surgerythat has brought me to this place. My experience with the philosphy of Enki Education has helped me to find my center, to balance my life, and to determine my priorities. A year ago I wouldn't have been savoring each moment leading up to my surgery and convalesence. Perfectionism was my affliction, along with an unhealthy dose of procrastination, and a bad case of poor self-esteem; I would have been scrambling around trying to make everything perfect and would have missed these sweet moments.

Sweet they are, and sweet they will still be if I live to be 100. While I still look to the future, I have learned to live in the here and now. Our times are uncertain; I can't focus all of my energy on the lives my children will live when they are adults...I need to help them live lives that are meaningful now. What is more important - a chapter read now, cuddled together on the couch, or drilling math facts and history dates in an attempt to get them into a good university? What will they hold in their memories as they grow older?

Likewise, would it be right to use my remaining time before surgery to organize the pantry and scrub the toilet? Part of me wants to do that, because someone might come over while I am in the hospital, and what would they think of me if my home wasn't immaculate? Luckily, I've come to a place where I care a lot less what people think. Hopefully they will offer me compassion; they will know that I spent months in pain before scheduling this surgery. They might know that I was ill for over a year. If they don't know these things, they don't know me well and I shouldn't care what they think. If they do know these things and judge me anyway, well, they must not love me, and again, I shouldn't care what they think.

No, I will take care of the basics. I'll pack a bag. I'll do what I can, within reason, to make things a little easier for Papa and those that come to care for the boys. I can do laundry, and tidy the house. I'm writing out basic recipe and laundry instructions for Papa.

But most of all I am going to spend my time with my family. We'll walk this evening, hoping to see a beautiful sunset as well as a few trains. We'll take Girl Dog as well, and I will relish her delight in being with us. We'll listen to our story. Tomorrow we will vote. We'll have something for breakfast that involves maple syrup. Maybe we'll have lunch out. I will hug and kiss all of them, repeatedly, all day long. I will snuggle with Papa on the couch once the boys have gone to bed. I will pet the Girl Dog, and speak kind words to her. I will live each day as if it might be my last, not because I think it is, but because everyday there is the chance that it could be the last, for any of us.

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