The Time of Forgetting, The Time of Remembering

I kept my wig. I kept it, at first, because I didn’t know if I would need again. Then, after some time, I kept it hoping that I would never need it again and thinking maybe that was realistic. Some time later, I kept it because it seemed like “good luck” to keep it.

I wanted to humble in the face of the threat of cancer. I didn’t want to toy with the threat of cancer recurrence. I wanted to bow to it, humbly, and run hard in the other direction as soon as it wasn’t looking.

I kept my wig in a hat box. A pretty hat box. I kept it in sight for a while, but now it’s in the closet. I took photos of my hair growing in: white and straight, then curly as Shirley Temple, then longer and more like my “real” hair.

I’m going gray–or maybe white. I won’t be coloring my hair. I’ll be celebrating. I’m lucky — to have hair, to be here, to keep going. To be past 8 years post-treatment, 8 1/2 years post-diagnosis. I expect another cancer free birthday in 10 days. I’ll be 57. I’ll be lucky.

Cancer does seem like it was a dream now. A nightmarish dream with lots of love in it. Suffering surrounded by love; fear surrounded by hope; appreciation surrounded by worry. It was a lot. It was not all awful. I was so happy to be alive. So very happy just to be alive.

That was the feeling that I wanted to preserve, but it is hard to preserve it when things get more routine. Now is the time of casually forgetting all that cancer meant to my life. Now is also the time when it’s important to look back, on purpose, and remember.

Because one thing is true for almost every cancer survivor that I know: Your priorities become very very clear. Get healthy. Enjoy living. Love. Be kind. Do good work. Make the most of it.

I went for a foliage walk today. I’ve been working too hard on a project for several years. For several years, I have been making excuses too often for not taking time for myself, for joy, for exercise, for renewal. I think I’ll change now. It’s time to remember that life is journey, and it’s not meant to be just for work.

I remember when I am out in nature. I remember how I healed and what I wanted: to live. To live fully.

Blessings, all. Peace,

Nancy

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