Monday, June 5, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/5/2107: Life Expectancy

“Strange, how death had a way of turning a table upside down in an instant. It swept away all the dust that covered treasures, blew the fog from one’s view, knocked
away facades.” 
― Julianne MacLeanLove According to Lily

“Death is not a tragedy to the one who dies; to have wasted the life before that death, that is the tragedy.” 
― Orson Scott CardShadow of the Hegemon

(Sorry, couldn't choose this morning.)

The sun is shining in my eyes through the window this morning. It was an unseasonable warm weekend up here at 10,600 ft and we spent all day outside yesterday.  The granddaughter and I started out the day with a trip to a rummage sale in Breckenridge where she scored a box full of my little ponies, 2 unicorns, Anna and Elsa dolls, and a princess gown all for $8.00. Then we ate crepes sitting outside in the sunshine. Headed back home where she made a new friend down the road from us-a friend with horses! The mother is a riding instructor and Attie (my granddaughter) got her first riding lesson. We finished out the day with a fire in the fire pit and hot dogs and s'mores and then a  much needed bubble bath.

Perfect, huh? You would think I'd be satisfied but, no, at the end of the day, I still found fault in it, things that could have been better. Reasons to be unhappy.

Last Friday I found out that a cousin of mine just found out she has mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has a life expectancy of 12-21 months until you die. Only 9% of its victims survive longer than 5 years. My cousin is 52 years old. She is one of those people that I always looked at as having the perfect life. Perfect husband. Perfect kids. None of that matters now. I know she would trade places with me in my imperfect world in a minute given the chance. Neither of her children are married so the chances of my cousin enjoying a day like I was gifted with yesterday are pretty slim.

I've often wondered if I were to get a fatal diagnosis, would I use that as permission to drink the rest of my life away, or would I decide to live my days as fully and appreciatively as possible? I'd like to think my choice would be the latter. And then again-you knew this was coming-my cousin's life expectancy could be greater than mine. Today could be my last day on this earth, and I have a choice of whether I drink it away or live it fully,  or whether I diminish it by expecting perfection in every  moment rather than seeing the loveliness in spite of the its imperfections.

Today, I am going to try real hard to be grateful for nearly perfect, almost perfect, and far from perfect but still pretty damn good.

How The Heck Are You?


  1. Hey Kary May,
    Sorry to hear about your cousin. My mother had cancer in the lining of her lungs and the lining of her abdomen. I believe that is the same. These were methestasised (? is that the word?) from breast cancer so they said. She had a 100% chance of dying within 2 years. She lived a good life for 6 years and only spent her last 1-2 weeks in bed. She did so with while following quite an intense Ayurvedic treatment including a sometimes pretty strict but nice diet. She also had a lot of therapy to learn to deal with this prospect of dying. The regular doctors said they would not have been able to give her those extra 4 years.
    Thank you for the reminder of the possibility of this all ending. Puts my own issues into perspective. :-)
    xx, Feeling

  2. Thank you. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. While different from metastasized breast cancer, it sounds like the prognosis is the same. It sounds like your mother was "living" the last stage of her life as a strong and noble woman-that's how I want to go. I have a strong belief in the afterlife so I'm not really afraid of death-easy to say when I'm not the one facing it-but I hope I choose to "live" instead of just sustain life. I watched as my father was convinced to undergo chemo when he was diagnosed in Stage 4 colon cancer and what could have been meaningful and full final months of his life were turned into total suffering.

  3. Imperfect is ok. I bet your granddaughter thought is was awesome.

    Enjoy the moment. That's all we can do.

    I am so sorry about your cousin. I hope she finds her own peace in her time left.

  4. That is sad news Kary May, and makes us think of all the things you write about. Yes it would have given me an excuse, I was so down I was even hoping for a terminal illness at one point during my drinking.

    How selfish and terrible for the kids that would have been, can't believe how alcohol can take you to those places.

    Breckenridge - wow that sounds beautiful. We used to live in Queenstown (NZ) and I loved it, albeit cold :)
    Michelle xx

    1. "hoping for a terminal illness" I can remember those times. I don't know that I ever hoped for an illness, but there were many times I thought, "Death is the only way out." But I didn't want to die a drunk, I didn't want to leave that legacy for my kids.

  5. I too am sorry to hear about your cousin.
    Lately I find myself asking what I will do if my husband dies before me.
    Will I go back to drinking?
    Or live.
    I know of course, that drinking will stop my grieving, and undo much of what I have gained.

    Looking at my life right now, it's a good life, and things are good.
    And that's what is important.

  6. We have this moment, let's live fully in it and not let worries about an unknown future sully it. Right?
    xoxo, back.