A New Year’s Wish
By Linda A Shearon
I am wishing you and myself another very happy new year. This is the time when I am most reflective and also the time when I renew my resolution to live in and cherish the present.
When I learned of my breast cancer in 2001 I started that dreadful trek all too familiar to all too many women. The fear, uncertainty, pain, loss of control and desperation faced on the road often overshadowed any hopefulness, determination or optimism I could conjure. Most days I didn’t expect to celebrate the arrival of 2002.
But I did. And I do celebrate the new year. I have lived, thrived and grown as a person. I imagine myself now strolling on a softer trail where bumps and potholes appear as just a part of the journey. My new path parallels that terrible cancer road but the two have not intersected in 12 years. Reason enough to celebrate a passing year and welcome a new one.
During the last 12 years I have been fortunate enough to travel and those experiences helped me grow in wisdom and perspective. Seeing the natural beauty of the Norwegian fjords, strolling beside the Tiber river, gazing at the wonders in the salons of the Louvre helped me find a broader outlook on my own mortality and membership in humankind.
I have attended birthday parties, graduations, weddings and funerals. Each represents a celebration of life-beginnings, endings, gentle chains that connect us all.
Recently, I made a cross-country relocation from my suburban home to a large urban setting. A big, big change in daily living. I’m learning to live in small space, survive without my car, walk, walk, walk and really bundle up before going outside. I’ve done this to accommodate the new love in my life.
Jack. My heart flutters with just the thought of him. I didn’t expect to encounter such an all-consuming love in my life again. Jack. He is a marvel, all 15 lbs of him. I watched him enter the world and will care for him for his first year. Jack and I will ring in this new year together. Best date I’ve had in years.
I never forget my cancer journey. I still miss my breasts. But surviving the disease does not define me. I lived before cancer, through cancer, and now I live past cancer. The present is my focus. I enjoy life. At 64 I want to make the most of it. I am not naïve and I know that someday I will step back somewhere on that dreadful road. Some disease, infirmity, or accident will eventually end my life. But probably not today.
Today, my new love and I will put on layers of clothing and take an outing to a park. I will speak to Jack of the shivering pigeons, the remnants of snow, the other children playing on swings. I may never attend one of Jack’s graduations, but today we have the park. And I have the present. Happy New Year!