Keeping it open

For me, the worst thing about this whole cancer secondaries has been the feeling that doors are closing for me; the feeling that life is shutting down.

I have always loved new beginnings, new adventures. I’ve always loved having a sense of opportunity – of lots of opportunities. I’ve always assumed that there will be something new – at the end of this phase of life I’ll try something else. Even with jobs I’ve loved, my happiest day has been the day I put in my letter of resignation.

This cancer thing, though, is limiting. It puts a question mark over everything. Should we book this holiday? What if…? Could I move jobs? What about moving house? Could I even get a mortgage? How long should I stay in this job for? This job that’s getting harder and more stressful all the time?

In the beginning, I turned from being someone who said “Yes” to being someone who said “No”. I stepped back from taking on more responsibilities at work. I accepted that this was where I was. I even censored my own bucket list, for goodness’ sake – scared of wanting things I couldn’t have.

But the first thing my husband did – after he’d scooped himself up off the floor, and then helped me scoop myself up off the floor – was book a trip to Finland, to see the northern lights. And he has kept on believing in me as someone who can say “Yes”.

I still feel that my path is narrower than it was before my diagnosis. I live my life in the chunks between oncology reviews. I think about the future, but with a little set of brackets in my head (“what if…?”). But I try to say “Yes”.

And if there is a trick to all this, that’s it. Saying “Yes”. “Yes” is hope, and fun, and joy, and love, and all the things that make up this glorious, wonderful, amazing life. It’s also pain, and fear, and worry, but they are part of life, too. “No” takes you somewhere dark and cold and small. Even when there aren’t many things to say “Yes” to, I think it’s still better to reach out to them than to back away.

About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.
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1 Response to Keeping it open

  1. Cezane & Michelle says:

    Well said, the last lines to this were crafted brilliantly. – Cezane

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