One of these days I really have to put something in writing with a notary or a lawyer. If I pre-decease my mother she feels that people need a formal, last resting place, and I do not know if she would abide by my wishes - which is not to have one. Some say I won't be here, so why would I care? Maybe I won't then; but I do now.
I once told someone years ago if I died and there was a viewing, I wanted a closed casket. Apparently I was selfish, as I was told that things like that were for the living. That same person was at my aunt's memorial, and she had a closed casket. Can't help but wonder what if, anything, was thought of that fact. Although, as best as I can figure, that person likely did see her after she passed. Still. For many she was not seen after her last breath.
I have never needed to see anyone dead. My grandmother was the first significant person in my life to pass, and she was cremated before anyone other than my aunt knew she had died. I sometimes wonder if my grandmother did me a favor. I had to go on with life without anything more than her absence as a confirmation for her death. Oddly, I do not even remember a memorial service for her. Was there one I was just too devastated to remember? I remember other ones, but not one for her. Hmmm...?
Now that I am significantly farther down the road than I was before, and now that the idea of death isn't something so seemingly abstract and distant, I am thinking about this stuff more. I hope to work it out before the clock stops ticking, but if I don't, well, I can only guess I won't care then as much as I do now.
I don't share the stuff I do as a way of imposing myself on anyone. No one has to see things as I do. I share as a matter of perspective. I share, to some degree, potentially have a public record of how I feel, should anyone care to pay attention. I share, in case this turns out to be the only record.
Not only do I not want to pay for my own memorial service, I do not want there to be one. Those who have been the most supportive to me are not local to me, any way. They would not be able to make it. I am not really sure who would show up, but there is a part of me that is troubled by the idea that people would show up in that way who did not show up for me in life.
I told this to a friend, and she started to laugh. She said she could see me there in spirit pissed off, wondering why certain people were there, and even trying to scare them. Lol. Somehow, I could sorta see that being something "I" would do. So, fair warning, if you decide to have any kind of official memorial service for me. Although, by sharing this, I may have just taken away all my fun, and any potential fear factor. :p
The fact is, I really can't even begin to imagine who would show up at this point, and it could very well be there is no potential issue. But that is also exactly why I would be pissed if there was some great turnout for a service.
I realize people are gonna do whatever they're gonna do, but I would so much rather those who cared about me find their own way to say good bye than to have some artificial gathering in my name. Maybe the service is, indeed, more for you who goes on living. But why should I in some "odd" way help people feel better when while I lived they did nothing to help me?
It sounds like tit for tat, doesn't it? Maybe it is. What it definitely is is the pain I feel of standing here all alone with very few around. Very few who will speak up, speak out, try to help, or at least try to be in the picture. I know it is not the easiest thing. I know the road is not paved. I know a lot of things, not the least of which is that I have no choice but to stand where I do.
This cancer thing is a part of my life - even if I get the miracle I ordered. My life will never be the same. It will always be the uncomfortable spot between me and others - especially those too afraid or uncertain to be in this mess with me.
I can try to be the one to make you feel better, or let you off the hook, or somehow guide us passed this. But, you know what? It's not my job to do that. I may try to tell people at times things that will help others understand what someone dealing with cancer may be feeling, but in the midst of drowning, it is difficult to try to teach others how to swim.
At the core of all of this, I am only human. And I can't help but wonder how this all sounds. I can imagine kind of angry, snippy, pissy, unforgiving, and who knows what else. But I am going to share it any way. I am going to share it because it is my extremely frustrating reality that I do not have all the solutions to. It is my extremely frustrating reality that leaves me at times at a loss for words (believe it or not...it does happen). It is my extremely frustrating reality not having the magical solutions and bridges to having the kinds of incredibly supportive relationships that others seem to.
I have never once said I am perfect, except when I have said I am perfectly me. That is the only perfection I would ever profess to. And in this mess called cancer it is extremely difficult to reach out to those I haven't spoken to in a long time, given how things are. Think about how hard that might be. And if people know I am dealing with stuff, and it isn't a time that somehow swings a door open for them, then it is nearly impossible to make steps forward.
Since dealing with this, I have wondered how I would react to another receiving news. I have already found myself extending myself to others, and having conversations that seem to be helpful in some way. But they seem to be momentary things. My guess? On some level, people don't want to "bother me."
But how I am/would be now is not the same as I once was. Not by a long-shot. Unfortunately I am not often in a position to physically help someone, or be there for them, but at this point, if I could be, I would be - in a heartbeat.
I wish I had had this enlightenment when I was capable of doing something. The best I can hope for will be a time that I can do something and/or convey things in a way that impacts how others interact. Standing off to the side thinking you are somehow helping really may no help at all.
I can't speak for everyone. I know of someone who wanted nothing to do with anyone - but his caregiver. But he had a caregiver. He had someone who took care of what he needed. Someone who doesn't have that might feel differently.
Not knowing what to say or do is no excuse for a lack of interaction. If you care about someone, you gotta at least try. Is it awkward? Probably. Will you say the "wrong" thing? Quite possibly. Will you be uncomfortable? In all likelihood, yes...at least at first. Will it suck? More than likely...at least at times. Will it be stressful? There was is likely a good chance. Can it be a good thing? Absolutely. Can it surprise you? Yup. Can you surprise yourself? Without a doubt.
I want and need people in my life - but I have a few conditions:
1. They must be willing to accept me, all of me.
2. They must not try to fix me, or anything about my life/circumstances - unless I ask.and even if I ask, there needs to be space for me to decline/say no.
3. They must be willing to be honest and real with me about who they are, and if that means expressing fears, or shedding tears, then so be it. I do not want fake people, fake positivity. I do not want, nor do I need, cheerleaders.
There is probably more, but I cannot think of it at the moment. What happens if someone isn't these things? They get expelled. Lol. Not really. We all have our moments. As long as someone's heart is in the right place, there is certainly more flexibility/possibility. An openness and willingness to communicate helps tremendously.
As simple as these things seem to me, they aren't easy to come by. People get spooked. People are uncomfortable. People are taught to avoid discomfort. People shut down. People pretend to be something they're not. People put smiley faces over all kinds of unsmiley emotions. People aren't in touch with themselves, or their emotions. People often project.
And, by people, I mean myself as well as others. Although, these days I am much more aware than I used to be, I think I am less likely to do the things I was once taught. As a result, it can often create problems for those still living by those "rules." It sucks when someone won't play along any more. But it also sucks to live by the dynamics that have us be someone or something we are not.
Those who have been vulnerable with me, those who cry, who tell me they have no answers are the ones the most likely to still actively in my life. They break through their discomfort, and show their useless selves. :p That is meant to be funny, by the way. The fact is, I already know they, and you, and others, have no answers for me, so y'all off the damn hook.
I wish you did, believe me. But the fact is no one does. No one has the right words. No one has the magic wand, or the magical answer. NO ONE.
It is a fact I live with, and won't hold against you.
If I am gonna hold anything against you it is going to be your unwillingness to step up in the midst of your fear and uncertainty. And since I don't really know who those people are that care enough about me enough to want to step up, you really don't have to worry about that, either.
Dealing with cancer sucks. But you know what? Dealing with the people in regard to cancer sucks a lot more.
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