Tuesday, 29 January 2013

As Boundless As the Lofty Heavens

When I was a teenager I got the following in my Chinese fortune cookie :

"Your future is as boundless as the lofty heavens"

I put it in my diary ( used to keep one by then, heh) and took  that to  be my motto from then on. Life and all its endless possibilities lay in front of me, and it was both dizzingly exciting and overwhelming.

I graduated in June 1993, nearly 20 years ago. I was eighteen. This past week I found some of my graduation photos, including those of my sisters and my parents. One of my baby sisters was here and she remarked on how young she looked  - of course she did, she was three!- and how young my mother looked. That made me pause and do some quick calculations and I realized that my mother was my age that day.  I look at my mom's photo when she too was thirty-eight and  wonder at how different our lives are.

Of course, we're very different people. Personality wise, experiences wise, we have relatively little in common. But I looked at her in those pictures and realized that to -me- those twenty years were a blink. That the boundless sea of opportunities and adventures I saw ahead of me at the age of eighteen were likely very different from how she viewed the world back then.

I tried to imagine what life will be like in twenty years, when I am the age that she is now. I can't. I can't see myself in twenty years, although I really want to. When I look forward that far there is only so much mist, as though the story isn't about me anymore; I suppose things change once you have kids, as your life's story becomes about them as much as about you.

So what will Aiden be like, in 20 years - when he is 28?
Will he have found the love of his life and soulmate, as I did? Will he have traveled, met people, had adventures and chased each and every dream, as I have?

I'm probably asking too much of my boy. Right now he's a sweet eight-year-old, dealing with a changing world. But when I sing Kermit's "The Rainbow Connection" to him every night, when we tell stories to each other at bedtime or make art together... baby, you really are a lot like me. I see so much of your dad in you too, but in so many ways we're so similar, you and I. And my story becomes a letter to my boy, and the hope that he lives it out with as much joy and wonder as I have to day, and with a lot less heartache, that his future IS as boundless as the lofty heavens.

On Legacy - and Kids' Club

It has been a rough few weeks for our support group, as several people have lost their battle with PMP.  I am a firm believer that love and spirit are never lost, only transformed, but its hard to see them go. There is an ache that they aren't here anymore, and anger too; there is never resignation because no, we never go gentle into that good night ( thank you Dylan Thomas for the rallying cry).

For those of us that are parents ( and there are many!)  there is also the urgent need to know that our kids will be okay. Not just okay - but thrive. There's always a plan for the  practical aspects... I know, if it should ever come to that, that Aiden will be well looked after and loved -- not just by his amazing, loving dad, but by his aunts, uncles and grandparents. He's surrounded in a blanket of love, always.

But will he know me? When he starts writing, or drawing, or dreaming... or facing life's heartaches ( because they will come) will he understand that part of his reactions and his choices reflect mine? Will he remember my voice, or wonder what advice I could have given in the matter? I think of Diego, my best friend at Aiden's age, who died of leukemia back then. I don't remember his voice, and his image escapes me. Echoes of echoes, and I want to leave my son something more solid than that.

Legacy isn't something new in my mind. When I published my artbooks and my novel I was thinking of him, and my parents and sisters. Something tangible of me that they might look at or read, and understand a little more of who I was and the worlds that lived in my mind. That let them glimpsed inside me because let's face it, we're not always so good with words.

 Given the people lost in our group the last little while it has been a lot more on my mind of late, however. So many wonderful suggestions! Writing letters to be opened on certain occasions like their birthdays, graduation, wedding. The birth of a child. All occasions that one hopes we will STILL get to experience together, but on the off chance that isn't in the cards we can still have a presence there. My Chris and my Aiden are tattooed on my soul with indelible ink, so how could I not wish to be present for them in any and all ways I can?

We made it to the Cancer Agency's Kids' Club this past week, after being unable to go for all the other ones as one of us was always sick. Aiden loved it -- he got to play with all the other kids,  got to discuss cancer and feel like he wasn't alone. For him it was really, really rewarding and I'm happy we went.  As for us - I think it was good for Chris. I know there are somethings that he needs to get off his chest too, and it was good to have a safe space to do so. But it was rough on both of us too, as several wonderful people there were experiencing recurrences. The urgency we all felt was not just for us and our partners, but the thought that our kids should have something of us, in the event that we can't be there to share it with them.

I brought up some of the suggestions of the FB support group, and the counselor pointed another option out:

http://www.recordmenow.org/

Record Me Now. They even have an app so you can do it on your own. Its free of charge and you can do it yourself. A way to leave people messages about who you are and what you believe in ( though I should really look into what it takes to back them up somewhere too).

Enough contemplation for today though. I think its time to put on some music and go dance. <3

1 comment:

  1. Wow, some pretty deep stuff going on. You have a couple of strong men in your life and are very strong yourself. Keep it up, you're doing great.

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