Today was a good day. Michael didn’t “go dead” when it was time to leave. He was a little confused, but he quickly figured it out.

We had some traffic on the way to the treatment, but it was a nice day and we chatted and talked. For the first time since his seizure, Michael is making me laugh again on a regular basis. Today he thanked me for everything I’ve done for him these past few weeks and how much I have loved him these past 12 years. He was downright cutesy with me today. And it was nice. Very nice. Being with him is bittersweet as I know I will never be satisfied…even when it’s a glorious day.

We went to the cancer center and was in and out for his treatment. There were no surly doctors and nurses to deal with.

On the way out a young child, a cancer patient, came in and Michael started joking with him. I know Michael’s heart goes out to the kids and I understand he wanted to spend a few minutes talking to him. When he was still in rehab he spoke to a young woman about brain biopsy surgery and reassured her and showed her his scars and told her it would be fine. Michael tries to go out of his way to assure those much younger than he is. He hates seeing young people in the cancer center much more than he hates being there.

Those who read my other blog know that I wrote: “Since Michael got sick, the word “unfair” comes up a lot from other people.

I think one of the reasons I’m not as angry about it all is that I stopped expecting fairness a long time ago. John James says that we grow up with a Christmas mentality: be good and you’ll get gifts. And when we’re good and horrible things happen, we feel cheated and pained and can’t deal with loss or grief. Our first instinct is to go: I DON’T DESERVE THIS!!!!! And we probably don’t.

The best we can do is bring as many great things into our own life while not settling for less than we deserve. We can accept that life is unfair and bad things happen to good people. The best we can do is surround ourselves with people who know that love is an action while doing our own work so that we are not crushed when unfair things happen. In other words ACCEPT THE THINGS WE CANNOT CHANGE (life is unfair, bad things happen) and CHANGE THE THINGS WE CAN (demand the very best in any situation, control who we allow in our lives and refuse to deal with those who don’t deserve us).

Michael’s sense of unfairness comes from going to radiation and chemotherapy and meeting kids there. For him, he’s 57 years old and has lived a good life. He said to me last week, “Why does this happen to kids?” It’s the kids he’s focused on. He forgets his own misery when he’s there and seeing these young children going through the chemo and radiation. He hates it all on their behalf. He’s bored and restless, he says, he can’t imagine what it’s like to be young and full of energy and so confined. He thinks its terribly unfair that kids have to endure cancer treatments. And he reminds me that there are degrees of unfairness.

While everyone feels their pain at 100 percent and there is no sense in comparing this loss to that loss, there are definitely degrees of unfairness. There are losses and deaths that make no sense at all. Drunk drivers take out innocent victims every single day. People are given terminal diagnoses every single day. Children die and parents with young children die. It’s all unfair.

People ask me how I am going through this without a screaming sense of unfairness and I think there are several reasons. The first is I don’t expect it to be fair. I gave that up a long time ago. Many unfair things have happened to me and the wail “But I’ve been so gooooooooooooood.” has only made it worse. It’s an expectation I no longer have. And that makes it easier.

Secondly, fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. My son was brutally assaulted in 2002 and lived when they thought he would die. Other parents have lost children with less severe injuries. Do they think it’s fair? Probably not. Fairness has worked out for me on both ends of the spectrum. My unfair lot today is somehow balanced by other times when it was more than fair. If I tallied it all up, would it work out? I don’t know, but I’m not going there today or any other day. It’s a tally I don’t need to know.

The third thing is that I am grateful for what I’ve had for as long as I’ve had it. Many other people never turn their lives around. Many other people who are addicted to abusive and horrible people never get out. People die in abusive relationships every day. People stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid to leave.

I got out and got help and got better, and I cobbled together a life that is second to none. I’ve made all my dreams come true. I know that from the day I left my first marriage, nothing will ever ever ever be that bad again. When I left that marriage, I was helpless and hopeless. It was the darkest time of my life but I have built a wonderful life and a strong foundation despite it all. A lot of people are unwilling or unable to get to here from there.

I am far from the picture of serenity or serene acceptance. I do have moments where I mentally kick and scream. I do cry and sometimes get angry that I am crying. I do rail at the universe and life and love and everything in between.

But doing that 24/7 is not going to help. What is going to help is to know that fairness has nothing to do with anything and that love is the only thing that matters. Love is an action and love makes everything else easier.

We can’t expect fairness and we can’t expect positive outcomes to all of our dilemmas. The most we can do with what we are given (whether it’s good, bad or indifferent) is to do our work and be the best person we can be surrounded by the best people we can surround ourselves with.”

The other thing we can do is to be grateful, very grateful, for a good day.

Today was a good day.

And I’m grateful.

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