Monday, October 6, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 1 comment

That Thing...

Sometimes, there are things in our lives that exist solely for the purpose of throwing us off our game. They are usually deep rooted, and originate from places dark and forgotten, lurking and waiting for the perfect opportunity to raise up and send us into a tail-spin. Often and without notice, these "things" (I refuse to give them a name because its an acknowledgement that gives them more power than they deserve), pop-up and remind us of our deepest fears, and fill us without everything that keeps us from having peace and joy. When these "things" show up, they usually don't have anything to do with your present circumstance, other than to confuse you, cause you undue concern and make you doubt what you know to be true about yourself.

When I was young, my maternal grandmother had gotten very sick, and my mother went "home" to take care of her. I don't recall how old I was, but I can recall so vividly my days spent at "home". My best friend was Mr. McClennan, who lived next door. He would drive his banged up pick-up truck around town and pick up "junk". Some of it he would bring home and make things with or salvage and resell. other he hauled to the end of the street and disposed of it. My routine consisted of eating breakfast, combing my grandmothers hair, waiting for him to finish his morning run and spending the afternoon on the porch rocking back and forth Mr. McClennan,waving at cars, playing checkers or snapping beans or whatever else we pulled from the garden. His wife would make us lemonade and we would just rock.

Mr. McClennan only had one foot, his other was a stump. He lost his foot in a train accident when he was younger. After a while, my mother would call me home and it would be dinner time and then bath time. Bath time...was always cool, because my grandmother would hum...and bathe me, it was a peaceful and quiet time, then we would go to sleep. My grandmother only had one breast, in addition to the diabetes that had taken her sight and caused her to not know who she was or where she was, cancer had taken her right breast.

Fast forward to my teenage years and I have to start getting physical exams for school, sports, etc.

Do you or anyone your family suffer from the following diseases? Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Thyroid Disease, ulcers, etc.? YES!  

Have you or anyone in your immediate family been diagnosed with Cancer, Leukemia, Lupus, etc.? Yes! 

Each yes met with a pause and a quick glance up, a subtle shake of disbelief, followed by more questions. I know what they are thinking...with this family history, its not looking good for this kid in the future. Even now as an adult, health questionnaires, lead to a supplemental page of questionnaires and then a long talk in the doctors office about high risks, family history and what we know about diseases that run in families.

See it never bothered me... because, I expected to have a BIG DISEASE! 

Every time I would get a headache or pain in my body, I would think "this could be an early symptom". I've educated myself on what the symptoms are of more medical conditions than the average person can shake a stick at because, I've been waiting for it.

As a child, as I saw disease ravage my grandmother; saw my uncles and aunts in and out of hospitals. I noticed that folks in my family didn't die from gunshots, or poor living...they died from CANCER! That was my "THING".

Somewhere, some how, I allowed every pinch and pang to take me back to every person I knew and loved being damaged and broken by sickness and disease. So, I halfheartedly did my breast self-exams, I got my pap smears annual, even got a baseline mammogram at 35...but that was it, because I've been expecting to have Breast Cancer. Until.....

Guess what? That "thing" that reminded me every time I went to the doctor, every time someone else in my family got sick, that I had the genes that could make me the next patient, has been evicted from my life. I realized that being broken and sick wasn't who Mr. McClennan, Grandma Katie, Granddaddy Leon, Aunt Maude, Aunt Ellen, Grandma Ruth or any of them were. It was simply a condition that they had. They all were so much greater beings than their circumstance.

When my friends started getting breast cancer, they were silent...they didn't complain...but they were strong. I realized that they were operating in a space that wasn't what they thought their life would be but they were making the best of it none the less. I don't have to receive the message my little "things" bring. I don't have to hold myself back from living full and purposeful life,waiting for something to happen.


When we allow "things" to run unchecked in our minds and spirits we can be convinced that a death sentence, or negative report is the end of our story...when it could just be the beginning. I am no longer afraid and awaiting, I'm living..and I'm as free as I was that summer, riding my purple bike with the leopard skin banana seat that Mr. McClennan brought back to the house after making his morning rounds.

Set yourself free...don't accept what negative has to say to you and about you...and LIVE!

I don't have breast cancer, and I pray that I never will...but if I better get prepared for one hell of a fight...because I like here a lot more than where I was and I don't plan on going back.

Peace, Joy & Love,
Michelle H.

1 comment:

  1. This is a well written piece my Daughter. I often find myself thinking about those once living monuments you mentioned, they have left indelible images and a great legacy for us to live up to. Yes, Mr. Tom Eddie was an amazing man, he must've been close to God because he could make more out of nothing than anybody I know.
    Yes, I too have experienced those "omigosh is this it " moments but I try to live by my own motto, "you can't live your life scared".
    Good writing. Smooches Luv Ya Dad