Time can be a strange thing. When you're waiting on something good or exciting to happen, it can feel as though time slowly drags on. But, when you want that time to slow down, it goes by in the blink of an eye. Time isn't real. It's just a made-up concept for scientists to explain the earth's rotation around the sun. So, why do we put so much importance on a concept invented by scientists? Because it's all we have.
Never enough time
Another funny thing about time. There is never enough of it. We live through working, kids, life, and death. Heartache and sorrow. Something always cuts our time here short. So, our best way to deal with the concept of time is to make the best of the time we do have or make up for lost time.
Hearing the news about my aunt's cancer
My aunt was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma, after several misdiagnoses. With my own Stage IV Lung Cancer diagnosis, I've been so wrapped up with making the most of the time I have left with my daughter, family, and friends. Unfortunately, I didn't visit my aunt as I should have. Now, time is going by in the blink of an eye. This carousel is not stopping and I'm ready to get off and see her one last time.
I began writing this before her health took a turn for the worse. My father called me a few days after I began this article to let me know that I should go ahead and make the trip to Atlanta to visit her one last time. She had a bad night and the doctor was narrowing her life expectancy down to mere weeks, if not days.
For some reason, a surge of energy took over and within 20 minutes I was packed. I began the 5 hour drive to my father's house and the additional hour to my aunt's house. Pure nostalgia took over upon entering. I hadn't visited since I was pregnant with my daughter, 15 years ago. Everything was the same. My uncle (her husband) passed away from Stage IV Lymphoma as well. I thought this to be strange, but stranger things have happened I suppose.
Let those you love know you love them
Something I've learned since graduating 6 years of stage 4 lung cancer, let those you love know you love them every chance you get. There may not be a tomorrow. It's also important for the family and friends to help their loved ones pass peacefully. As I sat next to my aunt, profusely crying and stroking her hand, I began to reminisce about the days our whole extended family used to get together. We were strong. My dad's side of the family had always been rather wealthy. They were high society. Unfortunately, as some passed, the younger generation couldn't hold it together, slowly falling apart.
I'm not sure how or when it happened, but I do know that their generation was special. My aunt reminds me of my doppelganger. If I were to fast forward my life 35 years, it would be like looking in a mirror. So, of course, the fact that she was leaving shortly brought up feelings of my own mortality. After my talk, I stroked her arm and told her how much I loved her. I also told her not to worry about my dad, her little brother. My sister and I would take care of him always. And finally, I told her, "Aunt A, if you're ready to go, we will all be okay. We don't want to see you suffer. We will be sad and grieve, but that is only because we love you so much."
Make the most of the here and now
I was able to stop that carousal briefly that night. In those final few moments with her, time stood still. My dad told her basically the same things about leaving us. I could tell he was devastated, but saying goodbye took away so much of his stress. I promised him I would be there when the time came. So, I guess the point of this story is that time stops for no one. So, let's make the best of the here and now.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?