Choosing Life

“I can choose to live in perpetual sadness immobilized by my loss,

or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself”.

Walter Anderson


Back is burning, boring – and it doesn't let up. It is fiercely concentrated – I would admire its determination if it were a person.

I am used to it – is that better or worse? The fact I had hope when starting the marijuana makes it harder. The doors started opening and I could see light through the crack: see the grandchildren, go to the theatre.

But if I am going to get through this night, I must change the story I am telling myself. I need to sleep to have a chance tomorrow – and I want that chance for Bill.

So what is my new story? After all life isn't what happens, but how I perceive it. And I don't want my story to be a victim, or bravely courageous. I just want to be normal. I don't want to build my morale by grabbing points over some other poor wretch. I don't want you bereaved, so I can say “at least I am not you.”

I am loved – and that is so huge. I can afford the help I need. I have loving friends, in whose happiness I rejoice.

I have sight – and the joy of watching clouds. I have an active mind and zest for life.

For what life, when I can do so little? For reaching towards understanding what it is to be human. And where better to start than from pain?

Now to sleep. Thank God for a sleeping pill and warmth on my back – and the purring of Thea, who snuggles so close each night and her paw creeps into my hand.

So now I hand over my pain to God and play one last game of 100! on my itouch. Placing each piece as carefully as I can.

So that one thing is perfect.

I wrote this late last night after a bad pain day, while trying not to let myself feel despair. Last week, I was tried on medical marijuana. It switched off the pain within an hour – and lasted for over 12. The doors started opening again – possibilities, perhaps see my grandchildren or go to the theatre, which I used to love. Galleries, nights out with friends – dizzying choice. And no longer trying not to mind being left out. Then as the marijuana built up in my system, the side effects came in, stomach cramps, and worse, a lost sense of self. Where was the love of life that never deserted me even through years of pain? I was pain-free but dulled and so tired, because I couldn't sleep. I tried splitting the dose, and using it topically in a cream, but nothing gave me back my self. So I came to last night. This is what I wrote to calm myself, to try to sleep. I wanted to be OK today, because Bill has an evening arranged with friends and I want him to be able to enjoy it. I haven't edited at all. This is what pain is like,


About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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