The Cost of Living


This week I got a mammogram and wore the paper napkin of a gown they give you at the gynecologist. I spread my legs for rubber gloved hands and angled my breasts to be smashed in a machine. And this was a major highlight of my week. The doctors were compassionate and gentle and kind. I was proud of myself. This was self care. This was me doing the horrible responsible things adults are supposed to do. This is the cost of living.

This week I found out one of my best friend’s breast cancer has returned.

This week I learned a friend I haven’t seen for years is dead. I’d loved him wildly once the way teenagers do, imprinting themselves upon each other, kittens from the same litter.

This week my I’ve helped my dad learn how to use a walker. I’ve watched my beautiful stepmother manage her oxygen tanks and tubes and bandages with grace and dignity.

This week I’ve made seven quiches and two apple cobblers. I’ve fought with my husband and had bad boundaries and cried so hard I didn’t think I could stop. I’ve screamed at the TV. I’ve turned off the news. I’ve called and texted and visited friends. I’ve had blood drawn. I’ve made an amends. I’ve been needy and whiny and hysterical. I’ve felt overwhelmed and flattened and drowned. I’ve walked and written and slept. I’ve sweated. I’ve shoved my breasts into a machine where they could be flattened and squashed. I’ve adjusted my meds. I’ve felt rage. I’ve wanted to hide and burrow down. I haven’t wanted to get out of bed. I have gotten out of bed. I have received and given love and and help and gentleness and grace.

I’m standing in the ocean in that split second after a wave has crashed and nearly crushed you but it’s beautiful and there’s nowhere else to be but in the ocean.

This is the cost of living.

Valley HaggardComment