We have made it to New Mexico, we have done almost everything we wanted to do to prepare to live the creative life that we’ve imagined, and just as we are coming to the completion of all our big projects, we are out of money. Not bad timing.
But oh, what we have done in a year, and that is because Sarita and I create a dream, and then we plunge into making it come true. When we told a former principal at our school what our plan was, she said we should just take a leave of absence (not quit) from our Bay Area school, in case things didn’t work out as we hoped. But that is not our way. We follow the path, and if things don’t work out, we go a different direction. But we don’t ever really go back.
The advantage of having a cancer that reappears, is that there is no time to waste. So once we figure out what we want, we just go for it, and watch it become reality. We now have a beautiful barn, a big lot that is empty and waiting to be internally fenced, a new house/studio filled with all kinds of fiber, material, yarn, mementos and favorite furniture, and the prospect of four baby alpacas coming in early June. We’ve worked hard, we’ve hired wonderful workers who’ve worked hard, we’ve tried to be patient through the weather and the time frames of others, and we’ve done it! I can hardly believe it.
It’s not as though we were waiting to live until it’s all done. We’ve been living, and it’s been busy and sometimes a little crazy, and a lot of fun. But soon we get to have a different kind of fun — with our new babies, and all the creations that we make in our new studio, and hopefully, with visits from our family and friends. And of course, there are always more projects to add in any time, like building a chicken coop, etc.
Now I’m faced with my cancer creeping back, and all I want is to have a good amount of time in this new life we’ve worked so hard for. It might be too much to ask for, and when fear begins to envelope me, I feel as though I should just quit everything, and succumb to it, because it’s so hard to fight. Then I tell myself, I am not dead, and even if I never get to wear the things I’m sewing or knitting, even if I never paint another wood mandala, even if I never write another song, I am enjoying the process of sewing and knitting, the process of playing folk and country music with my friends, performing informally for various places in the area, and coloring in my mandala coloring books, one of my most peaceful activities. I still feel healthy (or at least, healthier than I’ve felt for the last five years), and I don’t want to rush back into the regimen of drugs and chemo. A multiple myeloma webinar I heard last night, said that once I have to go back to drugs, I will never be off them until the disease is over. And I know that means until I am dead. So now I have about 2 1/2 more months without chemo (maybe more if I’m lucky) and I need to take complete advantage of that time.
Hanging the clothes out to dry, picking up glass from the alpaca lot (which has endless broken glass, nails, etc. from its former life as a vacant lot), baking honey buttermilk bread, snuggling with the dogs, knitting while watching “Outlander”, learning a song with my group that I used to sing to my daughter when I brought her home from the hospital — these are the things that bring me joy on a daily/weekly basis. I’ve also made the decision that I don’t want to travel at all, outside of a trip to my parents’ house in Michigan. Traveling is too stressful, and I basically don’t want to be anyplace else. Even traveling and exploring this area might not happen. I don’t regret any of my travels, but I mostly did them because I thought I should, and because other people wanted me to. Sarita and I are stay-at-homes, and I’ve decided to just embrace that completely. Feels good. Actually, feels like a relief.
When I thought I was dying before, I had this urge to give stuff away. I did give away a lot, some I regretted later, but only a little. I am having that urge now, but I am going to resist, because I’ve just “decorated” both homes so carefully, I want to enjoy everything until the very last moment. Putting the pictures up was the last decorating act, and they are incredibly satisfying. The art work of my family members and friends, the pictures of my kids, grandchild, and niece and nephew, the picture of Sarita and a brother, and me and my sister, framed together in a sweet gold frame — I love looking at these every day.
So mostly, it’s about enjoying every single hour (not about what I accomplish), and it’s about staving off fear, because I know that is detrimental to my health. And it’s about lots and lots of talking with Sarita. We can spend a few days and nights talking about the things we fear, and the decisions we need to make when one of us dies, and how to live on the small amount of money we make, and then when those days are over, we both have a sense of calm and peace, at least until the next issue comes along. But I have no doubt we can work out anything. We have only been together 8 years, but several of those have been quite challenging ones. Luckily, we both have a belief about being together in a next life, so it doesn’t really matter how many years we are able to have in this one. We found each other, and that’s what counts. Whenever death takes me, I can say I have known what happiness is, risk, intensity, pain, and love. I have lived.