First, when I talk about ‘visions’ I’m not talking about major woo-woo moments. No blinding lights or massive orchestra music or anything bombastic or big. Just brief moments of certainty that change me forever. Yesterday I wrote how the Universe likes balance and the following two stories are proof that the Universe does balance things out… eventually.
Yesterday I also wrote of how I believe when you put words onto feelings and break the silence of your thoughts you learn how to deal with them. I know that’s true based on two visions twenty-seven years apart that are the total opposite of each other in terms of knowledge and emotions. One forged me in fire and pain, and the other has brought me focus and an anticipation of joy.
The first happened when I was twenty-one years old, when in August of 1995, my mother found a tumor the size of a golf-ball in her left breast. The biopsy showed it was cancer so a mastectomy was scheduled. Before her surgery, she sat down with me and my dad one afternoon in the tiny cracker box of the house we were living in at the slightly-wobbly glass-topped dining room table. The sun was blazing into the house from the back patio behind where my dad was sitting. My mom sat with her back to the living room behind her, and I sat between them facing the kitchen. We were talking about my mom’s upcoming surgery and recovery and what would need to be done. I simply told them I would do everything I could to help out. I was still living at home and working part-time gigs and doing chores around the house though I had begun to formulate other plans, plans I scrapped along with my future goals and dreams. I didn’t say this out loud to my parents because they didn’t ask me to do that and at any time if I had wanted to leave, they would have let me go without a word of dissent. It was a sacrifice I knowingly and willingly made, and I believe it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
But it was made with one piece of knowledge all three of us were given that blazing-hot afternoon around that table: the complete certainty that my mother was going to die of cancer, that she was not going to beat it into remission and live to a ripe old age. It was a certainty we were given that day the three of us had to deal with. My mother and I never talked about it directly though we talked about death and dying quite a bit in private. I gave her the space to talk about that because no one else other than my father wanted to have those conversations with her.
Somehow some way, word got out that the three of us were talking about death, about end-of-life care and making plans for that end. Behind my back I heard that I, along with my mother and father, were too ‘comfortable’ in talking about death. And the word ‘comfortable’ was not used in a good way. The insinuation was that the three of us were ghouls who were going to bring about my mother’s death if we talked about it at all.
There was NO comfort in talking about death, about dying, and what to do. For the three of us, it was our way of doing what we had to do because we knew what was coming. And the three of us felt like we couldn’t talk about it outside of our little circle. Why we were given this certainty and knowledge is a mystery though I guess the Universe felt like we needed this knowledge in order to do what had to be done. Most of all, my mother and father placed complete trust in me to carry out their final wishes and to do whatever had to be done. And I did that though I paid one hell of a price in keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself.
Going through this memory as many times as I have in the last six years hasn’t been easy but each time I gain more insight into what it did to me and have learned that my father was right when he used to tell me, “You are so much stronger than you will ever know. And that you don’t know what you can deal with until you’re faced with it.” For the longest time, I thought I was never good enough, and that what I did hadn’t been good enough. Now I know that’s total fucking bullshit and at this point if you’re reading this and your back is coming up and you’re thinking about coming at me, ask yourself why and keep asking until you find all the answers you can. And as I always say, you might not like the answers you find and sooner or later you will have to deal with them.
I’ve dealt with my questions and answers on this and recently, it brought me healing. And I believe that this healing opened me up to the vision that balanced the pain of this old memory.
A couple of months ago, I was sitting in the airport waiting lot for Uber (and taxi) drivers on a beautiful afternoon. The sky was a clear blue, and the sun was shining though it wasn’t blistering-hot. I was thinking then how much I wanted to be home writing and a thought came to my mind that I would be sitting outside writing soon, much sooner than I’ve ever believed possible. I felt like for the first time since I came up with the idea of living and working on the road that I’m able to achieve that dream. I told myself people have done so much more with so much less than I have so it’s possible for me. Because trust me, this house-on-wheels/life on the road thing is going to be done on a very short and very thin shoestring.
But this stream of thought made me feel good and lifted weights of fear and anxiety I’ve lived with for far too long. I have weathered one more big storm of anxiety and fear but have started this year on a tiny bit of solid financial footing.
I believe because I faced that memory from the past and worked through it to the best of my ability I have opened myself up to a better future. So, if anyone asks what’s the purpose of working through past pain and misery, here it is: it will lead you to the light of healing.