That’s a good question. What am I supposed to be doing?
I had my first cancer in 1997. It didn’t kill me, at least not yet. I had my second cancer, a different kind in 2002. It didn’t kill me, at least not yet. I have a third cancer now, different from the first two, but akin to the second one. It hasn’t killed me yet. Why? There must be something I’m supposed to be doing, and that must be the reason I am still here. What am I supposed to be doing? I have no clue.
I thought, well I’ve been a writer all my life, maybe I’m supposed to write something. I decided to get a little more directed in what I was writing. I began writing for a local publication called “Senior Living”, and did so for five or six years. What I wrote touched a lot of people, at least that’s what people said. Was that what I was supposed to be doing? I have no clue.
Last year, early in the year, I completed the compilation of a book of memories and some life stories of classmates of various years of the high school we all attended. I received a lot of compliments about that. Was that what I was supposed to be doing? I have no clue.
Why don’t I have a clue? Read on and you will see why I say that. If you consider what I have asked up to now to be simple questions, you will see that they fast become compounded by additional factors.
I had a good friend in high school. He lived three doors from me. He became a cosmetic surgeon. There was a couple of years difference in our ages. He died at about the age I was when I had my first cancer, and he died of that same cancer. He performed many free procedures which benefited people who needed them the most. That’s the type person he was. In his high school years, I remember he was a decent artist, which probably helped in his cosmetic surgery practice. The houses we lived in were not very large. His mother had placed a baby grand in their dining room which took up the whole dining room. He played the piano, although perhaps not as good as his sister. He had much more to contribute to society than I ever could. Yet here I am. What am I supposed to be doing? I have no clue.
I guess in later years a husband and wife take care of each other. My retired sailor cousin, retired many years, visited his wife every day in the nursing home. He died, and she was left without him, left with whatever mental faculties she still had to try and figure out why. Then I thought why him and not me? What am I supposed to be doing? I have no clue.
I don’t really have the talent of most people I know. My writing may have improved over time, because I spent so much time doing it. Is the writing I have already done what I was supposed to be doing, and it has meant so much to one individual that alone was the reason I’m still here, even though I do not know that individual?
I know at least two people who have died of the second kind of cancer I have. When I was last at my cancer doctor, he can talk in general terms about patients to give me a reference point, and we talked about one of his patients, not by name, who had the third kind of cancer I have, and it is terminal. He was pointing out the contrast between me and that patient, and how fortunate I was to have mine discovered when there are so many more options than later. This patient has Stage 4, although they have changed the coding, and no longer identify it in stages a patient can identify. Something like y2bd3. I’m still here. Why? What am I supposed to be doing? I have no double-compounded clue.
You know how you get strange feelings sometimes, of something you are supposed to have done, and didn’t do it? I still have that feeling, that I haven’t really done what it is I’m supposed to be doing.
Am I the only one walking around with this feeling? Maybe there are others who feel that way. Something unfulfilled they are supposed to do, and especially if you have been granted an extended stay on this earth, or a second extended stay on this earth, or a third extended stay on this earth.
Maybe I’ll find out what it is.
I asked one of my loyal readers to tell me why she is still here. Jamie Mallory wrote the following. Thank you Jamie Mallory for insight that reaches much beyond the periphery.
“At the present time, all I can come up with as to why I am still here is to help my children grow. They are still growing, and going through things that I can help them with. I try to keep in the shadows while doing so. I also try to do the same with my grandchildren. It makes me feel good when my daughter asks me to talk to one of her girls. Maybe the girls will listen. Maybe what I say will have an impact on their lives at the time in their lives they most need it.
Maybe someday my words will touch someone else, and make a difference in their lives. Maybe it will not be a relative. Maybe it will be a friend or even a stranger. I hope so anyway.”