Hello all. Today is one of those days I sometimes have, where I feel like I have so much I want to say, and no real plan for how to say it. Today is 9/11, and as I checked Facebook this morning, I saw the usual abundance of memorial posters and people’s memories of that day. I thought about adding my own there, but I have a greater need to talk more about my yesterday than the rest of the world’s today.
Yesterday was highly emotional for me, but not for the reason you’d think. Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandmother’s death in a car wreck with a drunk driver in Gallup, New Mexico. She was 54. She has been gone for twenty-six years. In some ways it feels like just yesterday, but mostly it has been a lifetime. Literally. She passed away five days after my 15th birthday and I just turned 41. All my milestones, all my moments, weddings, graduations, other various achievements, my children’s lifetimes…all that has gone by without her physical presence. Not without her spiritual presence, obviously. I know that part of her lives in all of us- me, my aunts, uncles, cousins, our kids. Part of her influence, her passion, her bravery and adventurous spirit, her love and dedication. All of that lives on in us. Whenever I remember to think about it, I want to be like her. I usually forget to think about it. But she was an amazing woman, and worth aspiring to emulate. There’s just really not much more to say about that. Well, there is, but I want to move on to the main point.
Even more than remembering my family’s blackest day, yesterday was also highly emotional because I spent the entire day waiting to find out if there was a possibility I might have breast cancer. I went to the doctor last week on Thursday (my 41st birthday) because I had been having pain in my right breast for several months. Not bad pain. Barely noticeable pain. Just a twinge every now and then. Not much more than most women likely experience with PMS, but continuing on a consistent enough basis that I thought I should probably get it checked out. So on Monday I had an ultrasound on the right side, and a mammogram on both. And yesterday I waited. I waited alone. At first I tried to think positively, but the longer the day went on with no news, I began to succumb to fear. My thoughts became more and more convinced that whenever the doctor’s office did finally call, they were going to tell me something awful.
I called the doctor’s office a couple of times, the last being at almost 5:00, and the girl on the phone told me that they had the results of the ultrasound only, that the doctor had not had a chance to look at them, but that the summary showed nothing abnormal, and that therefore the mammogram would probably be fine too, unless something happened to turn up in the side that wasn’t hurting. So after spending all day finding it harder and harder to breathe, I could finally relax just a little. I still haven’t officially heard from the doctor, but the odds are that everything is fine.
I am so thankful. I am thankful that I didn’t have to find out I would be fighting for my life on the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. But to have 9/11 immediately follow the day I had yesterday has thrown me into an emotional moment where I just feel very contemplative and quiet. I want to think, but I don’t feel like I can think deeply enough. I want to talk about loving life and living in the moment and appreciating your family and telling the people you love that you do love them. All the poetic things that get spouted in this season and on these occasions. But it all just feels so inadequate. Nothing I can say can touch the depth of how much I want to honor Alba Dean Findley and all the victims of 9/11 by LIVING. Just… living. Really, truly, actively, living with fullness and joy. How do we do that? How many millions of ways are there to define the act of living?
I don’t have the answers, but I plan to work on it. Tell the people I love that I love them, no matter how scary it is. Stop and smell the roses, literally and figuratively. Appreciate every second. Fight for the underdog. Seize the day. Be brave and fierce and fabulous, just like my grandmother. I WILL honor the lost by living. Really living. I pray the same for all of us.
Love and blessings to all.
Until next time,
Note to all women: stay on top of your health, particularly your breast health. That is all.
ETA: Here is a previous entry about 9/11, the Murrah building bombing, and my grandmother.