Posteado por: aliciaenelpaisdelasmascarillas | marzo 1, 2011

44 weeks to live

Lovely day today, wasn’t it? What was it that we did? What was it that we really wanted to do tomorrow? What do I want for myself?

We wake up one day, take a deep breath, and all of a sudden ask ourselves what the hell we are living for. That day, my friend, will come sooner or later… or so I wish to believe. Days come and go swiftly, and most of us have nothing to show for it. Honestly, what did you do today? Did you feel like you made a difference in somebody else’s life? Probably not. Or maybe you did. You be your own judge.

Throughout my childhood, I was told countless times that I should live each day like it were the last. As a child being raised between the US and Canada, I was comfortable and secure enough to unconsciously do just that: carelessly wander through the woods, splashing in puddles and wading in creeks. Slowly, silly worries started to creep in. Today, as a college student, I feel under more stress than I have ever felt before. We worry about grades. We worry about what our friends, teachers, and parents think. We worry, worry, and worry some more day in and day out.

Until one day, we hit a wall in which we remember the sun-filles prairies of when we were kids, we remember warm cookies and milk, we remember pijama parties with long-forgotten friends, our first kiss, the excitement of the first day of school, and we realize at least temporarily that that was what was truly worth it. I wish these were not fleeting moments of self-awareness but a true state of mind in which we could come to terms with who we are and be just that. We have been pushed to over-achieve and we go through our lives madly trying to accomplish somebody’s expectations. In the middle of it all, somebody ought to crash.

My crash was medical. A doctor looks at you straight in the eye: you have cancer. It will kill you. You have three kids, a great husband, and a lifetime of joy. Our idiotic preoccupations suddenly some into focus, and we see them for what they really are. My mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. She knew she would die. Like many, many others, she struggled and we struggled with her. After many chemo sessions, and without a strand of hair left, she was told there was nothing left except for a new drug that was proved to extend the life of the patient for 44 weeks. That’s it. The time span was not in decades, in years, in months. We were talking about the most useless unit of time: a week.

My father started a jar in which he would painfully drop a pebble for every week that passed. And time went by, as it tends to do. What did we do? We coped, for that is what humans do best. We cope with situations as best as we can. We took a trip to Guatemala, we had long talks about everything we could think about, we took pictures. All of a sudden, here I was living as if each day were the last. By Christmas 40 or so weeks had gone by. She died January 24, straight on the dot for medical statistics. She didn’t live to see me graduate from High School. She didn’t live to see my brothers’ first girlfriend, or their carzy aerials on the ski hill.

I try to remember her voice nowadays and I can’t. Even the most precious memories fade away slowly.

This is not an invitation for you to go down and write your list for what you want to do “before you kick the bucket”. On the contrary, it is a call from within to live the life you want to be living, to do whatever has meaning for you. That way, when you are told that you have 44 weeks to live, you can look back and smile, for you have done quite well.

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