Stella Blue

My life with metastatic breast cancer.

Bittersweet

12 Comments

It happens from time to time, I get a glimpse of my “old” life and for a fleeting second forget that I am dying of cancer. These moments are simultaneously wonderful and devastating. I might be out with a friend for lunch, pumping gas into my car, shopping for Owen, or doing dishes at my kitchen sink. It’s always random and for that brief moment I feel free, as though I’m flying and nothing is tethering me down. I feel like I did before, able to live my life without a shadow cast overhead. It doesn’t last very long because reality always comes crashing down, dragging me with it in its vice-like grip. In this moment of clarity — when it all comes rushing back to me — I can’t breathe. I’m ten again and I’ve fallen flat on my back off the trampoline — immobile, breathless, terrified.  This time there is no ground to break my fall, and so I’m left to kick and scream in mid-air with no one to hear me, no one to catch me. Alone and falling, falling so fast — past the memories that were supposed to one day be mine. I reach out to touch them and slide my fingers over their sparkling surface…

The look on Owen’s face when he sees Disney World for the first time.
The birth of our second child, to see again Andrew’s incredible capacity for the patience and self-sacrifice of fatherhood.
Owen’s high school and college graduation ceremonies, his wedding.
Ashlei’s wedding, the birth of her children, becoming an Aunt.
Retirement — relaxing on the dock looking out over the lake with him, my partner in life…reminiscing about the early days and arguing over chores, still.
Grandchildren.

I will not see these momentous occasions, they will occur without my physical presence. I hope that there is more to this life, and that I can be there in some way, spirit or otherwise. I hope that my loved ones will always feel me near as they celebrate those unforgettable moments that life has to offer, but my sorrow at missing out on them is endless. I am so very grateful for the incredible moments I have been blessed to experience and I will hold them close until the end. When my time comes, I will take my last breath knowing that my time here was extraordinary, that during my brief existence I lived and loved as greatly as I could. I know there will be more wonderful memories to make before this happens, but everything for me is tinged with darkness — all of the good moments are bittersweet. Still I fight for them, even though they are broken and imperfect. They may not be the memories I thought they would be, but they will still be special.

12 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. Cheri, your writing is amazingly well-crafted as well as genuine and crushingly sincere. It invariably stays with me for hours after I read it. I made the mistake of reading this one quickly between classes, and now have 30 fresh-faced honors freshmen waiting for me to start class with a mixed amount of patience . . . but I really wanted to take a second, process your words, and pass along this thought that I’ve been meaning to share for awhile now, since you started your blog, really . . . but I better run now, before these kids break out into open rebellion . . . too late . . .

  2. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  3. as always, you speak straight from your heart- thank you for allowing us into your thoughts..xo

  4. Beautiful sad words from a beautiful person – thank you for sharing

  5. You are such an amazing writer Cheri! Your words are so moving. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your honesty is refreshing. You truly inspire. Love you!

  6. Keep writing Cheri – your words are going to stay with your loved ones no matter how long you are here. You are truly an inspiration. The reality is no on knows how much time they have here and we all get so caught up in day to day bullshit. Truly, we have to cherish the moments that we have here and now. And somehow we hope to leave our mark on this world. I pray that you get each of the moments you dreamed of, and know that you are leaving your beautiful mark on everyone around you. I am so proud of you!

  7. This post truly touched me. My beautiful daughter died on the 18th of January 2013. She too waited for death as you do. She was the bravest person I have ever met. Reading your blog gives me some insight into what she went through…I think Vic tried to protect me from her fears and heartbreak. Lots of hugs and warm wishes of healing and peace.

  8. Pingback: Bittersweet | tersiaburger

  9. I just read Tersia’s post… it caught my attention today with a word I use often …’bittersweet’. I went on to read her post… with your post. I came here, clicked the Follow button. My heart feels for you… I recognize thoughts you spoke of … I have non-Hodgkins lymphoma… I had those thoughts when I was battling to get better, didn’t think I would. I am in remission now. I wanted you to know, I care. I really care. Gloria

  10. Pingback: Playing TAG. | From 220lbs to Marathon Monday

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