Monday, May 25, 2020

Your Number Is Up

I did not expect the number to be 53.

Which is what I turned on April 24, 2020. 

Three days ago, I got the ticket.

I went to ER expecting maybe gall stones. . . and learned, to my astonishment, that I had advanced pancreatic cancer. There is almost no cancer in my family. I really always believed I was off Scot-free. We had longevity in our veins!  Multiple nonagenarians! I figured that by my generation we could expect to be at least 120. I had such plans! They were amazing, beautiful, totally achievable plans that I was making great strides towards. I was, to say the least, nonplussed.

At the advent of my 51st birthday I wrote this:

Over the Hill 
I think at 51
I am probably officially
considered over the hill.
I mean I guess that assumes the
the hill is the midpoint of my life
and we know I’m only
going to live to 100, right?
Perish the thought!
I like to think that hill
is closer to 70.

It’s all downhill
from here, they’ll say.
And what does that mean?
It’s easier the rest of the way?
After all this grueling work to
get to the top, you can now
slide down the opposite side
in relative ease?

Or does it mean it’s all a
decline from here?
Nothing to look forward to,
just winding up your life
and looking back fondly
on those reckless,
raucous days
of your youth?
(Mine so disappointingly
misspent on all that
needless goodytwoshoery. . .)

Or is it more of a physical metaphor?
After the painfully slow rise
the ball will now rush down
to the bottom, plummeting
me to the depths of my demise
in what will feel like mere seconds
with the deftness of a roller coaster?
Am I now rolling toward my
death at an accelerated speed?
My God, did I put one toe in
my grave today?!

I think not. The trajectory
of my life is not a broken
line with the point of a hill
in the middle, hanging a
sharp right to the grave.
I see the trajectory of my life
as a single line that rises
from the horizon into the sky
as far as the eye can see
–indeed, beyond what the
eye can see!

My trajectory is like what the
psalmist describes, declaring
that the path of a good soul
is like the light of dawn
that grows brighter and brighter
until the full day!

I’m not over the hill.
There is no hill.

Well, I clearly didn't expect this. But I stand by my poem. 

Life is beautiful and I will continue savoring it as I have finally learned to do in the penultimate chapter of my life. And when I come to the last page of my final chapter, I am not going to write, THE END. That's just so negative! LOL I think I'm going to write, THE COMPLETION. Getting to the last page is reaching the zenith of this stage of the soul's journey. It's growing brighter and brighter until the full day. I want to make sure I write this final chapter as beautifully as I may. Stay tuned to find out whether I succeed. 😉


  1. Elisa! The term "needless goodytwoshoery" is something that resonates SO RESOUNDINGLY with so many women of our generation and culture. Some of us brought up in such rigidity are only now beginning to see the reality of how life is not all black and white- that there is so much gray- and that gray is okay. Much love to you and all best wishes. And I definitely am going to stick around and see how things go. Thank you for inviting me to share in this beauty and awakening.

  2. First of all, yay comments! Secondly, YES! Have you read Glennon Doyle's Untamed yet? If not, do so forthwith. It so speaks to us. Our generation of women has so much unlearning to do and I can only hope that our children and our daughters and our daughters' daughters will not be raised in those cages but will have their wildness acknowledged and affirmed from the get go. I have always loved you, Friend. And I always shall.