I did it. I threw the Hail Mary - that long, forward pass thrown by football quarterbacks close to the end zone as possible while the clock runs out.
I threw it as far as I could; from New York to South Carolina where I've landed on both feet in the end zone and, quite possibly, scored the winning touchdown. A whole lifetime of trauma, illness, tragedy, and top-heavy responsibility led me here and it's been a very, very long journey.
And, I won't know until I know.
Nearly 20 years ago I was asking God to throw the Hail Mary as I succumbed to cancer and Lupus in one tremendous and episodic journey to the other side. He (and thus, I) prevailed to see many other days raising my children, nurturing my marriage, playing with friends and working as a writer. You can read more in my book, DYING TO LIVE: Running backwards through cancer, Lupus and chronic illness.
And now I'm exhausted because I have finally given myself permission to rest, relax and rejuvenate. At 55, I want to just be... And after many years of locale research and extended stays, it is sunny, warm South Carolina that affords me that opportunity. It's where all the hard work and hand-holding my husband and I did for each other, our children, our extended family, and strangers seems satisfied.
Yet I find myself already filling out a volunteer application for nearby Brookgreen Gardens. !!!???
I come from a long line of doers - people who do for others yet neglect themselves. The only thing I've truly neglected is my health and it needs tending; my body tells me so. So since arriving here nearly a week ago and rejoicing in my new home and environment, I am listless and unable to do much but sleep, eat, and watch television. Yet, I am at peace far away from family and friends who I miss. Plus, I am blessed by two sons who are carving their own way in the world. I am here by choice and surrounded by the love, hope and grace that emanates from within me. Yup, simply from me.
What comes next is anyone's guess and I'll wait for it all to arrive. If it's weekly bike riding thanks to an electric-powered bike, walks on the beach or in the warm rain, meals out with my husband, meeting new friends, escaping with the dog and, perhaps, tending a garden even though I've always had a black thumb, I will smile and hum along with whatever tune is playing.
If it's illness yet again, I will face it with dignity and courage and choice; that is, my choice if I want to get treatment or fold into my own harmony and spirit with all the beauty that is around me and the memories that sustain me.
Godspeed in 2016...