Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

The Roulette of Living

The end of my ulna is shattered—which sounds like a naughty personal problem to me. It actually means my dominant arm can’t escape from its over-the-elbow splint for at least two more weeks while my bones bond with metal patches. Bummer. It also means I’ll be forced to expose myself to medical offices and more x-rays over and over again in the coming days. I’m reminded of my time teaching when an earnest student would lean close to me to say, “I just found out I have strep (or mono or the flu), and I thought I should tell you. Here’s my homework (cough, cough).” You walk your path knowing it’ll end at some point and you’ll have to stand on your courage…and your immune system.

COVID-19 is cold water. It reminds us we can’t predict the length of our paths. We have to trust we’re doing the best we can day by day and that has to be enough. During the next year, the virus will not bother us, or it will make us sick, leave us with scary medical bills, or remove us from the game altogether. That goes for our loved ones, too. Until the means of transmission are known and, if possible, controlled, we spin the wheel and wait for the result. Pretending nothing can happen won’t change the outcome. Not that we were guaranteed a particular lifespan, anyway. My fall forced me to know that in spite of my resistant constitution, I can be excused any time. Even if we live on kale and protein powder, our bodies are not immortal. Nothing personal.

Some people are forewarned about the foe that may be their “last shadow”—cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, addiction, etc. Is it easier when you can see the train speeding toward you? I’ve read living with purposeful joy in front of impending doom sometimes alters the end of the story…or allows the patient to heal emotionally if not be cured. You wait, naked and vulnerable, as your clock ticks down. At one point, I was mistakenly told I had terminal cancer. I know the icy, tearful block that weighs on your heart. We want to think death isn’t fair, and it does dawdle more for the rich, but it still comes. Those who believe status or gold or power will protect them are wrong. Something will end your path, even if it isn’t a virus or a flood or a solar flare or a car crash, etc., etc.

WASH, WASH, WASH, WASH…a good idea. (Can anyone permanently avoid touching their face?) And live with love and joy as much as possible. Good food, good company, honest relationships, movement and love are great deterrents. (I used them to thwart heart blockages.) Face your path with dignity and maturity. At least if you come to your cliff, you have less to regret. If you have to abandon people who were dependent on you, can you imagine what they might learn from the experience? Do you believe there’s any logic to existence? I recently finished reading the fantastical novel AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman—a thought-provoking chew I recommend if you aren’t too easily offended. If you adhere to a religion, how much do you believe it? Who are you following and what are the rules? Making peace with who you are, how you live, and how you see death will help you maintain balance through whatever threatens your fantasy of immortality. Easier said than done.

One comment on “The Roulette of Living

  1. Frances Sullivan
    March 8, 2020

    Ugh, sorry about the bones. Do hope they mend and the cast gets to come off on schedule. As for this virus, I’m trying to ignore it – not stupidly – just the media hype of it. Ma Nature has her way of culling the weak – always has done – and in the grand scheme, the numbers are very small. As for immune systems, mine’s been shouting me down for a couple of months now despite the kale. 😉 I think I’ve figured out it’s what I think more than what I do. Anywho, lots of food for thought in yet another beautifully written blog. P.S. Am a fan of Gaiman and more than a little envious, too.

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