At age 39, I don’t have a formal, written bucket list. I always thought I would make one eventually and I have certainly kept a mental list of what I would put on it. Most of it has to do with travel. There are so many places I have dreamt of seeing before I “kick the bucket.” I would go to The Pyramids of Giza, The Roman Colloseum, The Sistine Chapel, Pearl Harbor, The Statue of Liberty, The ruins of Machu Piccu, The Parthenon, The Terra Cotta Warriors, The Fjords of Scandanavia, The Palace of Versailles, Red Square, The Taj Mahal……the list could go on and on. My plan was to make my list and then prioritize for when I retire. I know I can’t afford to go everywhere, but I was hoping once my teaching career was over, I would have some time and money to go some places. However, time is not promised to anyone. The only time we really have is today.
In the initial panic and shock of being diagnosed with terminal cancer, I was surprised to find that my dreams of travel were not what came to mind. What I spent many sleepless nights thinking about, were the events and milestones I might miss. Things like weddings, graduations, birthday parties, holidays, etc. I was sad to think of missing these things in my son’s life, my friends’ lives, and even in my friends’ childrens lives. This surprised me. Not getting to see the world didn’t matter at all.
I just returned from a road trip to some new and exciting places. Previous to this entry I posted a photo from this trip. I got to see the Grand Canyon (definitely on my mental bucket list) as well as The Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef National Parks. These places are amazing creations of mother nature. Scenery that takes your breath away and places that pictures cannot do justice. But what made the trip so incredibly special was not where I was, but who I was with.
While hiking, my son became quite talkative. He chattered on about school, teachers, friends, music, movies, you tube, etc. I loved every minute of it. Sometimes it is hard to get teenagers to talk about anything! But this was a special treat for us. I feel that I got to know Nick better as a person. I am amazed at how smart, interesting, and amusing he is.
It was also wonderful to talk to Mark about things other than work schedules, meals, bills, appointments. Instead we discussed the beauty and history of the places we visited. We got to experience the new places together. Holding Mark’s hand while watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon, was truly food for my heart and soul.
So I guess the point is that cancer can bring clarity in many different ways. Everyone has probably asked the hypothetical question at some point…….”what would I do if I only had _____months/years left to live.” All I can say, is that the answer for me when it was a hypothetical question was very different than the answer when it is a real question. My real bucket list means spending as much time with the people that mean the most to me. It doesn’t matter if this time is while on a vacation to a new and exciting place, or if it’s over a simple family dinner, a walk around the block, playing a board game. I won’t regret the places I don’t get too. I will consider my bucket list complete as long as I spend as much time with my friends and family with whatever time I have left.
I am feeling good and enjoying the energy that has returned. I see the plastic surgeon on the 16th of August. I have no doubt that he will be pleased with my recovery and lift any remaining restrictions.
A special thanks to those who continue to pray, send messages, cards, emails, etc. I am truly one lucky woman to have the love and support of so many! THANK YOU!