The Actual Dance as a play presents the events of the year 2000 from my point of view as the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. Now, seventeen years later, it is apparent that I did not fully understand how deeply the experience impacted me. It took me 12 years to write the story, so to speak, and the last nearly 5 years I have been telling it through performances of the play. Every October I blog daily to help in raising awareness and to share elements of the story that I hope are of value to those who read these blogs.
Day 9: The Talk. This part did not make it into the play. The conversation when we get home after the grim news “Stage 3 cubed. So, what should we do now?” Up to now, I've talked about who we talked told. Our Temple. And the need for the soothing power of music. But now, now its more serious and more intimate. We -- Susan and me -- needed to have "The Talk"
We scheduled Susan’s double mastectomy and then sat down to talk. We did NOT talk explicitly about the possibility of death. That conversation too did not come until much later, indeed a few years later. This conversation assumed the possibility of death. We had friends who dealt with similar news by quitting their jobs and taking off for their “last hurrah” – so to speak. Traveling to all the places they never traveled, doing all the things on their ‘bucket list’ and rushing into what they thought was an abbreviated life span. We don’t have a bucket list. Our conversation came to an entirely different conclusion. “If we are unhappy with our lives then let us change what we are unhappy with, not because one of us might not live as long as we hopped.” We concluded that our lives were full and rich and that if anything, we would want to be closer to our community and friends, not running off to solitary personal experiences.
Stat of the Day: A couple is 6% more likely to be divorced after cancer diagnosis if the wife is the one who is ill than if the husband is ill, according to a study by the National Institute on Aging.
Task of the Day: This is not an easy task. It might even be scary. Do an inventory. In business it is sometimes called “Plus, Delta” analysis. It is about making sure that you and your loved ones are living today the life you want to live. This can be sensitive and difficult for some people. Be prepared to seek counseling before doing anything “drastic.” Life is never perfect. There are always “deltas” and there are always “pluses.” The idea is to be Aware enough that life can change so that you are living the life you want to live today.
Resource of the Day: Consider a Life Coach. These are like Executive Coaches in business, except they are for people who are trying to be the best CEO of their own lives. It is a growing field and can be really helpful in making sure each day is being lived to its fullest. Here is a good link about life coaching and how to find one and good advice on how to find one in your community.
The Actual Dance: Performances. Donate.