It’s been a rough 9 months. In late September our dog Wilson was diagnosed with cancer and we had to put him to sleep. Two weeks later my hubby, Mark – partner, friend, and love of my life – was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Several weeks ago we had to put Eloise – our cat of 14 years – to sleep. Good or bad, life is about balance. If you want all the wonderful life has to offer, you have to accept there will be bad. I married my husband, agreeing to love him “in sickness and in health” and that kinda goes for life as well. Right smack-dab in the middle of the good and the bad is where we live most of our lives: we live life in-between.
The Good & The Bad
Making the decision to put Wilson to sleep was heartbreaking. We second guessed our choice hoping there was another diagnosis that would alleviate his pain. He gave us joy, laughter, companionship, cuddles, nuzzles, wet sloppy kisses.
We also remember the hair on everything, food snatched off the counter, books chewed to pieces, diarrhea on the carpet after eating lord knows what, scaring us to death when he would run off.
Accepting the bad and the sad was the trade-off in order to experience Wilson’s good and wonderful.
My husband’s cancer was caught in the nick of time. Had he waited any longer to see a doctor the prognosis would not have been as good. We spent October through December in radiation and chemotherapy sessions. There were blood tests, CT scans, MRI’s. We met with surgeons, medical oncology and radiology oncology doctors. In mid-February he had a very invasive, intensive, surgery which meant 17 days in the hospital and 8-10 weeks of recovery. (He’s doing splendidly, by the way. Here’s his journey: markself.com). There will be much testing in the next few years and nervous hours waiting for results. I married him promising to love and support him. I love living the wonderful, silly, cherished good life with him, so I accept nervously slogging through the bad times.
You can’t be grateful for joy without experiencing sadness. You can’t know love without feeling heartache. It is the extremes that allow us to appreciate the good times when we are experiencing the bad and knowing that neither good nor bad will last forever.
In-between is where we go to school, work at a job, fall in love, marry, have children, decide what we’ll have for dinner, determine where we’ll spend our vacations, decide what car we’ll drive, welcome strangers into our lives that become our friends. It is the polar opposites we experience that gives us the nest for our lives…THAT is life-in-between.
The pendulum swings in two directions.
If I want to experience the reckless abandon of joy and love and happiness I must also feel sadness and loss and pain. Through all the heartache, stress and sheer terror of the past 9 months, I have embraced life-in-between. I am celebrating my husband’s return to health. I am flipping the heartbreak of losing Wilson and Eloise into love I feel for Oscar – the newest member of the family.
Life in-between requires us to live in the moment. We cannot live in the past; we cannot live in the future. Life in-between requires us to live right now – to love, travel, hike, camp, eat great food – to stop postponing joy. I have learned I cannot, nor do I want to, live anywhere but right here, right now.
I will experience the pendulum swing back and forth – we all will. There will be sickness and health, life and death, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. But right now, I embrace this one moment that will never come again. I know to let the past rest and the future sort itself out. Between the good and bad is where I’ll live my life.
I am grateful to live in the moment. I am thankful for my life in-between.
How is YOUR life in-between?