Sometimes I’m sad. Sad that I’ve managed to screw up three close relationships that I really cared about. Sad that my job is boring and I want to retire. Sad that I can’t afford to retire. Sad that I no longer have a house to retire in. Sad that my body seems be to slowly breaking down, with pain and unwanted physical changes. Sad that my lifestyle has left me with few close friends and very little family around me. Sad that I live by myself and have gotten so used to it that I no longer want to change. A friend pointed out to me that I haven’t really experienced serious tragedy in my life. I suppose not, but sometimes it felt that way, and sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to live for.
All that being said however, I still am thankful. Things haven’t turned out the way I expected, and the future is very uncertain, no matter what I do. But, every year I have to remind myself, as if I could forget, that Maya is still alive and healthy. Maya is my step-daughter, a woman so like a daughter to me as to be my daughter. I watched her grow from an eight-year old into a woman, only to be struck with a malignant brain tumor soon after her 21st birthday. I never thought about losing her before that, but the realization was like a physical kick in the heart. There was always hope, and I never hoped so much in my life for anything. I never gave up hope, and through the day-long surgery, debilitating drugs, poisonous and ultimately useless chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, she survived. She was astute enough to opt out of the radical, shot-in-the-dark, full-head, and full-spine radiation treatments, so not only is the cancer gone, but she still has her short-term memory, and her full-strength immune system. She is cancer free, healthy, strong (just ran a fast half-marathon) and absolutely beautiful in spirit and body.
Every time I see her is a joy. I will always be thankful for her recovery. Sometimes my life seems to suck, but, in my lifetime I have known a beautiful, loving person who survived a life-threatening, catastrophic illness that would have devastated me, her mother, her brother, her dad, and the rest of her extended family. I am thankful for Maya, and I have told her so. Life is not so bad.
Also, see published short story here (on pages 13-14):