I’ve been content lately. I didn’t work for it, or do anything special. It just settled over me like a blanket.
I really do love my life.
My life has plenty of work to do. There are bungee cords securing the trash can so Cleo doesn’t raid it. My Toyota has 245,000 miles on it and spends more time in the shop than it does with me. My knee hurts when I walk and will probably never be right. I check my bank account every day to see if I can afford lunch.
It’s O.K. I’m happy.
I was sitting in the front lobby at work the other day, eating an apple, watching the setting sun bathe the parking lot.
A very kind woman from the marketing department walked through the empty lobby and greeted me.
“What are you doing up here by yourself?” she asked.
“I’m eating an apple. Watching the sunset,” I said.
She smiled and we talked for a bit. I like her. When I got back from my weeks of cancer treatment, she walked over to my desk and said to me “You haven’t missed a step,” and there was something authentic in her eyes that I liked.
She couldn’t have given me a higher compliment.
I don’t want to miss a step. Not one. I don’t want to miss one crunchy bite of this life.
The apple break was between my regular shift and an overtime shift I worked that night. I wound up at the scene of man barricaded in his house. I ate a chicken sandwich in my car while I waited for something to happen. I raced back to the office, wrote about a peaceful resolution to the barricade (the man calmed down), then wrote about a power outage.
I came home, settled in my soft recliner, and watched the rest of “Project Runway.” On the way home, I slid open the roof on my Toyota so I could see the spray of stars and the slice of moon.
I settled into the covers that night with Jackie’s warm body in the crook of my arm and Winston in the crook of my knee. Jasmine snored at the end of the bed. Cleo and Mr. Stinkee were curled in their own beds, and I felt peace.
When I drive to work in the morning, I love the bright roll of the sea that I pass. It’s as if the waves are greeting me. I’m happy to see my friends at work, anticipating the surprise the day will bring. What I missed realizing before being widowed and having cancer is that no day is ever, ever the same. It’s a gift all of us have every single day.
I’m engaged in my life, the serious and the silly, and I love it. My friends are funny and fascinating, and they’re all over the United States. I love writing, reading, walking, thinking, and always, always, the people around me, whether I know them or not.
The joy crept in about two weeks ago. I don’t know how or why, but it did, and it has stayed.
I don’t know how long I will live. I don’t know if this cancer will come back, but I’m not afraid anymore. Losing Dennis and facing my mortality has afforded me something I’ve pursued for so long. I am living. Really living.