Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t. ~Richard Bach
If you happen to run into me today, please give a kiss and a hug and congratulate me on not being dead yet.
It’s the 17th of May again, an anniversary I have, for 11 years, marked by not being dead. It was emergency bypass surgery that made the still alive thing keep happening, a holiday adventure in Singapore I’m not likely to forget, and although not high on the fun-and-games factor, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever made.
Being alive, I keep writing, and usually on the 17th of May I jot down pondererings on aspects of life I tend to take for granted much of the rest of the days I walk and breathe and watch a sunrise.
On the 16th of May, 1999, I was abruptly informed that I was somewhere between one and thirty days of a fatal heart attack … news that almost caused one right there and then. By the 17th I’d been sliced and diced and given a new lease, and although open-ended and loaded with get-out clauses for the lessor, I’m still not complaining.
Had I died back then I would have missed a lot. Some of it total shit, for sure, as at that time I was a reasonably content woman and had not buried any child of mine. I could have predicted little that has happened since, if anything, but I guess that’s a good thing.
Of course, Sam and Cj are bonuses beyond belief, and although they would have come into the world without me since I had nothing to do with their creation, missing out on being their mother would have been a real gyp.
I’d like to think that the end of me would have taken some residual good stuff with it; there would be a bit less music and much fewer words around, and maybe … just maybe … I’ve done some good for someone somewhere over these years of gravy that pay toward my price of admission.
Checking off another year prompts more than reflection, though, as each 17th of May I wonder about the 364 days until the next one and what they might bring. Sorry to say I don’t do this with as much joy and wonder as I should, but rather with no little fear that I might not be able to pull off another whole year.
That low-hanging sword serves to remind me life is a short option under any circumstance, and although I have little fear of being dead I can be terrified of potential alternatives.
This is the time of year I want to grab every bit of life I can by the collar, pull it close and squeeze as much out of it as I can. My patience grows thin now … not that it’s ever very thick … and a welling sense of panic creeps over me that too much is passing too quickly.
It’s not a case of feeling compelled to climb Everest or fling myself out of airplanes. No. My bucket list is pretty damned simple.
Item number one for the last some years was having all four of my kids under the same roof with me at the same time. That is no longer possible, but I do hope those of us still around share space someday.
I would like to feel safe and be happy for as long a time as possible, as that would be a whole new experience that would be nice to have for a while … just to check it out.
Watching mountain gorillas and seeing Venice … not at the same time, thankyouverymuch … are about as close to conventional if-I-can-before-I-croak dreams.
A sense of settled with some idea of what just might happen over the next month or two or six would be nice, too.
Perhaps all that will happen … maybe this year, even. Perhaps not. The point is, however, I am still along for the ride, and good, bad or indifferent, I’m bloody grateful to be here.