I have come to an end. And it made me cry this week. I am not a crier.
When my mother ill, I asked her, “Can you imagine anything worse than what you are experiencing right now?” I was looking for any silver lining possible. Her reply surprised me. She answered, without skipping a beat, “Of course. If any one of you six kids where in my place.” She strongly encouraged us to look at Cancer with a steady glare, and to prevent rather than treat.
My mother had a BRCA1 mutation. (Go ahead, look it up)
She died from ovarian cancer.
One of her last wishes what that all us children, be tested for the gene, so that we could prevent, rather than treat.
Well, I have an impending ending. When I was pregnant with Niva, I was finally ready to know what I already knew. I too am BRCA1 positive.
At the end of the month I will undergo a radical hysterectomy. It’s called radical, because there is nothing wrong. My uterus is gorgeous, and my ovaries, the same.
But, I know what this disease looks like, and I would be foolish to believe that I am invincible.
And, I have two daughters now, and I want to see them grow up (I’m crying now).
I have had surgeries. tonsils, knees, cervical spine, gallbladder. But this one is the toughest yet.
I hate saying b-bye to my reproductive system. A definitive ending to the possibility of bearing more children, and I don’t even want to have more kids. But the possibility, will be gone. It is also a beginning. Let’s focus on that and turn this frown upside down. Admittedly so, it’s going to be difficult to come up with the silver linings here.
It’s the beginning of no more tampons and pads. Win! It’s the beginning of menopause – I can let all my girlfriends know what this is like before they walk the desert of dryness and hot flashes. Talk about trailblazing! For real, I like to set an example. The is the beginning of prevention; an action that I hope my family and friends take note of. While I hate the thought of saying goodbye to my babies first home (more tears … and I am in Starbucks! = vulnerable) I can look at it as really focusing on the PRESENT and ensuring that their NOW HOME as he most comfortable and safe place possible. What a great goal to have. Now I have the Beatles "Hello Goodbye" in my head.
Hello peace of mind. Welcome.
Let’s lift a drink – to new beginnings all around.
Clink (that’s my Starbucks tea!)
Like it is - According to Vail
I was working with a student the other day and we got talking about what comes first, the chicken or the egg. She said, “I know the answer to that one. A circle has no end.” Yes!
There are so many examples in life that tell us that life is cyclical. The way the sun rises and sets. The way our breath moves in and out of our bodies. The way the seasons come and go, regenerating always.
However, we seem to sometimes resist the endings or at least resist what we consider to be an unhappy ending.
In the beginning of life, we live pretty cyclically or seasonally. We start the school year fresh and we end joyously. We are aware that certain things will end, but there will always be more, another adventure. When high school ends for many of us, college is the next beginning. After college or whenever “real” adult life starts, that is when the true challenge of beginnings and endings commences. There are no longer demarcations for what the next expanse of life will look like, what comes next.
For me, becoming an adult was hard! I began to really hate endings and goodbyes. Without the the promise or understanding of what would come next, I would feel a sense of despair. I cried when I quit my first job. It wasn’t because I loved my job, it was because it was the end and I didn’t know where I would begin again. I did begin again, half-way across the country. It was a fresh start. Part of that felt terrifying and part of it felt liberating.
So, as I trudged along as an adult, I began to notice the pattern. When I was open to life’s changing experience, there was always space for more, for new beginnings. As I changed jobs, lost friends and grew, new opportunities and beautiful souls would again enter my life. One of those souls, my roommate Nikki, would often say, “change is never easy but almost always good.”
Maybe endings aren’t as predictable as they were when I was young and are often times more gut-wrenching, but I try to remember that the ending has left space for something else. I may not know what that is when I am in the midst of goodbye but as we look back on our lives it seems like the endings come just at the right time for the next adventure to begin.
One of the quotes that grounds me into the certainty that endings are really just beginnings in disguise is:
“i don’t pay attention to the world ending. it has ended for me many times and began again in the morning.”