I remember the day news anchor Katie Couric looked into the camera on the day she’d returned to work after losing her husband to colon cancer and said something like this:
“And to all of you who endure inconsolable loss and stand gaping as the world keeps moving on without you I say this: I understand.”
That was 15 years ago, and today not only do I remember those words, I live them.
This morning I was ready for yoga. I haven’t done it since the “big news” of my brain/liver/lung metastatic breast cancer 3 weeks ago–mostly because I haven’t had the time. I was on that treadmill of “what do I do NOW” and busy getting it done. Now that I’ve done the brain radiation, the port, and am on chemotherapy round 2, I was ready this morning to get back to 9 a.m. yoga.
But driving there, I got in a tiff with someone. Then I got bad news about stuff on the homefront. NOT medical. But personal stuff–you know, in the running-of-the-house-and-family category that encompasses but is not limited to bills, kids grades, broken appliances, etc. Or as I like to call it, the” we-know-it-doesn’t-matter-in-the-scheme-of-things-but-day-to-day-you-can’t-avoid-it-in-real-life”–
until you get a diagnosis like mine and that entire category of life blows up. Paying off a credit card bill is not as important to me now as planning a family vacation–which puts yet one more emotional divider between me and the non-sick world.
So back to yoga–
there I was, trying to get into the class, but dealing with this “day-to-day” junk that was important and not important at the very same time. The yoga instructor said “grow your breath” but mine stuck in my throat. She said “jump to the top of the mat” and my feet dragged like logs. “Think of someone you need to forgive” but there were too many choices in my head and I was the biggest one. Then I started feeling sorry for myself. That is the classic sign for me to abort the mission. If I’m going down that road I know I’m losing ground. I rolled up my mat and left the class. No yoga today.
I had prepared myself for possibly leaving yoga but not for emotional reasons. I thought the chemo might make it tough to stand the high heat in there. But It was heat of another kind–the unexpected–”the head trip of life as a woman who may or may not see her kids graduate high school”–that’s another way to put it–that got me. I drove away cursing. I had so wanted to do yoga.
But as Katie Couric so prolifically said to “me” all those years ago, regardless of my situation life will go on around me–even as my world spins in and out of control. Some days I’ll handle that motion, and other days I won’t.
Here’s one thing I know: there’s a yoga class next Wednesday at 9 a.m. with my name all over it.