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Places to Remember
Places I Remember (Doctor, List, Woman, Timeline, Chemo, 24 Months to Live, There are Places to Remember) (Mouse Over)

Dear Kim,

Yesterday was a hard day in relation to my sister. She went to see her doctor last week and was told that after she finishes chemo in mid February, then the really hard time starts.

(Kim: I've been thinking today about the difference between a friend and a sibling, between a friend and a child. My parents really separated their friends and their children and sometimes that was hurtful. I think I'm closer to my sisters that my mom was to her sister and brother (though they all had different parents). With the recent family gathering, it made me realize the sweet and sour of spending so much time with blood connections. Though you love, respect, and cherish them, they might not be the same people that you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island.)

We thought this was the hard part. The chemo has been brutal.

This latest information requires a shift in thinking and a different kind of psychological preparation.

If she is likely to have a recurrence, it will most likely happen within 24 months of the stop date of her chemo. The doctor said it is a real wait and see situation...

(Kim: When I knew some with AIDS I first became aware of how death knocking can change one's attitude about the preciousness of life. I remember too when my friend Mary believed that she was living her last year and she went to Forest Park and smelled the air as if it was the last time that she would be able to do that. I get impatient when I see people sleeping (literally or metaphorically) because it seems that they don't realize how short life is.)

I think my sister has been extraordinary in receiving and negotiating this news. Always a pragmatic person and a self described list maker, she has decided to make a 24 month plan, as if she has 24 months to live and to decide what she wants to do.

Her list is breathtaking in its mutual embrace of the ordinary and the spectacular. It includes everything from writing one really good short story, to baking a flourless chocolate cake.

From being able to play the Beatles song, ”There are Places I Remember” on the piano to registering to become a foster mother.

From completing a year of architecture to visiting Bilboa.

She includes places she wants to visit and restaurants she wants to have meals as well as sections on The Physical Self, The Material Self, The Artistic Self, The Emotional Self and The Intellectual Self.

Many of her plans include me and I want to do everything I can to both simplify and widen my life to join her at every possible juncture.

We do not know what will happen. None of us ever knows. But the challenges for someone with this kind of cancer are big. I applaud her desire to move ahead and make decisions as if.

I am thinking we should all make our lists. And live as if . . .

Later,
Joan

Friday, Jan 6, 2006


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