Yesterday, I walked with my friend who is just over a week post op. She'd had a hard night, but she wanted to get out of the house and stroll a little, feeling the air and breathing the air that was full of early (too early) plum and ornamental peach and magnolia.
It felt good to be outside with her because all of my thoughts about her for the past week involved the inside of a room. She'd been in the operating room, the hospital room, the lobby waiting for her husband to swing the car around. Then, I thought about her in her own bed, which was better, but it's a place she's been so often in the past ten years. Now, she was outside, doing with me what we have often done over the years. We did two full laps, passing houses and a little fat white dog that wanted a pat and a talk. A school. SUVs. We braved the crosswalk, twice, the lights flashing. We made it back to her house, and then I left because people who are recovering and people who are grieving want you there and then they want you gone. It's important to remember that.
On the way home, I thought about something she said, about deciding that all of this pain and effort is worth the probably five years of health she will get from her efforts. That the cutting and intense and poisonous drugs and her weakening body is worth the outcome. Since she last went through this, the world has shifted on its axis. Her children have graduated from high school. They are both in college, one soon to graduate from that institution. She's gone through changes at work. She's gotten another degree.
And five more years could be any number of additional life changes, and holding out for them is worth it.
As I pulled into my driveway, I knew that sometimes I forget what I'm working for because there is no obvious obstacle in front of me, at least, one that is clearly defined, such as my friend's. But the desire to move, to go on, to work toward the life that we have is a daily choice we make--or don't. It's a privilege, I think, to be here at all, and yet, sometimes I ignore that fact, bewailing some thing or another.
But the bad thing falls away, and I can look toward another thing. I forget sometimes to look toward the more of it, focusing on the less.
So I think I will hold onto the image of my friend and me walking across the crosswalk. It's a dangerous one, written up in the papers often. Cars ignore pedestrians on a monthly basis. City organizers have tried to put boxes of flags on the street corners for walkers to hold as they cross, alerting the cars to their presence. It doesn't work, so now there are only flashing lights and prayers.
But there we were, my friend with her illness and me, crossing anyway, wanting not only to get to the other side but to go on, wanting more.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org