Somewhere between Friday and Monday I made a conscious, determined decision to thrive rather than survive. It’s not the first time and I’m pretty sure it wont be the last but for now at least the decision still stands.
It all started on Friday, an hour before leaving work, when I picked up my basket and began retrieving the medicine for my next patient. As I moved alphabetically through the list the pattern became evident, the distinct combination of intense pain relief, anti nausea and relaxants known reverently in community pharmacy as the prescription for “end of life.”
This patient is known to me, in the professional sense. I retrieved the same medications for her husband the year before last. I spoke to her fleetingly about her diagnosis a few months later. I acknowledged, across the vast distance between her side of the counter and mine, the hair loss, the side affects and the decline. As I double checked her birth date I took a second to recognise that this day, a Friday, in her 40th year of life, was likely her last day.
Later that evening I spoke to my family about her, respectfully, anonymously. The injustice of it, the cruelty of it. To dedicate years of a life to the care of another, to be devastatingly released of the burden only to find yourself, mere months later having to accept and endure the same fate, knowing all you know about how it feels to be in their place.
The weekend progressed swiftly, as weekends do and as Monday morning came around I tried a little harder than usual not to bemoan having to work for a living, the state of the weather or the dirty dishes left untouched in the kitchen sink. No doubt I made it until lunchtime, or until someone was rude, or until I was onto my third cup of undrunk coffee and life as we know it took up the reigns once more.
Sometime around tea time my sister called and I missed my phone, so she texted then called again. I dialled and she didn’t answer. My stomach clenched, my head swam, my throat dried and ached instantly with the memory of tears long shed. This is a pattern I’m familiar with, this is a place I’ve been before. She rang back a minute later.
Somewhere between Friday and Monday my uncle had passed away. Somewhere between Friday and Monday in circumstances yet unknown, for reasons yet unexplained he left this world unfinished. Somewhere between Friday and Monday his lonely, half-life was completed. Somewhere between Friday and Monday he was released from decades of physical and mental illness that haunted him. Somewhere between Friday and Monday sounds like an awfully long time.
Today I chose to be gentle with myself. I showered using my best lotions and potions. I dressed in new underwear and outerwear, all stuff I’d been saving for “best.” I wore expensive perfume. I smiled at strangers. I visited my holistic therapist and felt my tired body surrender to the will of heat and oil and intention. I opened my heart to the energy she channelled and accepted her gift of healing fully and completely. I cuddled on the couch and watched mindless tv without guilt. I cooked Sams favourite tea with my music turned up a little louder than usual and sang and swayed and stirred my heart out and you better believe he tasted the love in every mouthful. Today I shared a meal with those I love, we laughed and talked and connected. Today I did the thing I always tell myself I’ll do tomorrow. Today I lived one possible version of my ideal day.
Somewhere between Friday and Monday my uncle lived his last day. Somewhere between today and forever my last day will come, yours will too. Somewhere between now and then I wish for many more ideal days and if tomorrow comes…