There is a lot about the last year that I would prefer to never think about again. The pain – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – I’d rather not remember. The surgical drains and radiation burns and hair loss? I would be fine blocking out that trauma. The days where I couldn’t get out of bed or eat or sleep? All memories I don’t need to have.
But I do find myself wondering what I’m going to remember when I look back on 2014 in a year, five years, 15 years. And there are things I want to be sure to remember.
I want to remember that even through cancer, I laughed. A lot. My kids cracked jokes, there were funny cards, and I was able to find humor, from the ridiculous (nipple clamps always make me laugh) to the sublime (watching my kids play keep away with my fake boob). I wish I could say I laughed every day, but I did laugh a lot. When I look back on this year, which was pretty freakin’ horrible in a lot of ways, I want to remember that it wasn’t all bad and I never lost my sense of humor.
Before cancer, like most women, I had the occasional bad hair days. Days when humidity or dark roots or a wrong shampoo choice turned my hair into the enemy. Days when a bun or a baseball cap were my only defense. And while I can’t remember exactly when I did it, but I know on more than one occasion, I threw the hairbrush down in frustration and muttered some variation of, “I’m just going to shave it all off and go bald.” Once my hair fully returns, I’m sure I’ll once again have to endure bad hair days but my hope is that I will remember how particularly unattractive bald is on me, and be grateful that I have hair at all.
I read a story about a woman who got breast implants and then popped one by wearing an underwire bra. I must remember not to wear underwire. The story is probably an urban legend, but why take a chance?
When my husband, who is generally a good man, inevitably starts to drive me up a. freaking. wall., it would be best for me to remember how he stepped up, and came to doctor’s appointments and shouldered the burden of raising our kids when I couldn’t get out of bed and went to three different drugstores to buy me egg-shaped Twix bars during Easter. Perhaps by remembering all of that, the up-a-wall-driving won’t make me quite so crazy.
And finally, I want to remember how blessed and loved I felt. I received so many dinners and carpool offers and cards and gifts and calls and emails and Facebook posts. I honestly didn’t know just how many friends I had.
With all the things I want to remember, I just wish I could forget the cancer.