“Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean
This past weekend I hosted a bridal shower for my sister. One of my sister’s long-time friends from UNC was there. Her friend told me when she called to RSVP that she was tentatively offering a “yes” response because she needed to have back surgery a couple days after the shower to improve a nerve situation that was causing one entire leg to be numb all the way down through her foot. She has had difficulty walking because she is basically dragging her unwilling limb around. She wasn’t sure if she’d feel up to a party. Knowing this gal and her upbeat, fun-loving way, I knew she would find a way to make an appearance for my sister, and she did. She’s that kind of person. At the shower, she had everyone laughing about the time she dressed as Androgynous Pat from Saturday Night Live for Halloween and nearly got kicked out of a bar for using the men’s restroom. She kept telling the bouncer, “I’m a person.”
Today was the day she was scheduled for surgery and, as they were preparing, she was answering some basic questions. During the course of the Q&A, she mentioned a few things that troubled the surgeon. The doctors did a brain scan and found a tumor the size of a fist. And, in a matter of seconds, she went from having back surgery (which is scary enough) to having a life-threatening tumor.
I’ve been thinking about this news all morning long. I try to remind myself daily that life is fragile and tenuous. This is part of the reason I’ve been diligently working to focus on the here and now because I don’t know what the future holds. The only joy I can be sure to find resides in this moment. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. The present is all we have and in a few minutes even that will be our past. I wish it didn’t take bad news to remind me so viscerally of this truth.
I’m holding out hope for my sister’s friend. She beat leukemia when she was 16. If anyone can pour all their positive energy into dealing with a negative situation, she is the one. I’m going to send her all the positivity I can muster as well. Maybe if a whole lot of us do that, it will lift her up and over this tumor situation. While we’re willing that to happen, I know she will be a constant reminder of how important it is to live now. She’ll have us laughing as we do it too.