Saturday, June 4, 2016

On being Mortal

"Severe Illness wasn't life-altering, it was life-shattering.It felt less like an epiphany - a piercing burst of light, illuminating what really matters- and more like someone had just firebombed the path forward"
-- When Breath Becomes air

I didn't want to read this book - after K1 told me the book was incredibly sad and he skipped pages because he couldn't bear the melancholy. I waited till the last minute, the book was due at the library on June 5th - I couldn't stand the thought of returning the book without reading it first. This book made me cry & get a headache ( I don't cry easy!) , it made me feel way too much, but most of all it had me revisit old memories- so thank you for that!

It took me right back to the times with my father - where I had lived second-hand through all his angst, realizations, acceptance and hopes...the decision tree of treatment, the Kaplan-Meier survival curves,  the numbness, the fall-back of - why the heck even live if we have to die anyway? I revisited some of my blog posts which reflected (less elegantly some of my second-hand brush with severe illness and death...the truth is I didn't deal with it with as much grace and realism as I saw reflected in this book). Sharing some of my older posts...if you have travelled this journey, know that you are not alone - there is an answer at the end of the question - it might not be the one you are seeking, but it's probably the only one you will get - it's what you make of that answer that defines the rest of your life.

Hitting Ground Zero - 11/07/09  -- I found out 3 weeks before this that my father had cancer
Hope Floats - 12/25/09 -- this was 10 days after my father's surgery in Irvine
Existential Crisis- 04/02/11 - the cancer is back
The ticking timebomb - 09/25/11 - dealing with the aftermath and the decision tree of next steps
The Dirty "C" Word -  08/07/12 - the chemotherapy aftermath
Inside Out...Outside looking in - 11/03/12 - my last vacation with Bapa, we talked a lot, ate whatever we wanted and took our morning walks every single day
Simple Gratitude  -  02/05/13 - My last trip to India, Bapa was in the ICU and I spent 10 days in the hospital with him, he went back home on Jan 31st.
Lost my voice found my mind - 02/14/13 - Bapa was back in the ICU with low platelets
You are loved - 03/12/13 - lost Bapa on March 11th and the trip back home almost broke me down completely...but you survive, thrive and go on...there is an empty part in you that always misses your lost ones...but you learn to go on.

I didn't really want to end my day on a sad note today...yet maybe it's not really sad. It is about "making peace in my own mind" with issues as yet unresolved...Maybe it's the survivor's's something for sure. I want  to end this post in the words of Paul Kalanithi - 

“Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described hold so little interest: a chasing after the wind, indeed.”