pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Look up

28 December 2015

Look up

Dumbarton Oaks
Washington, D.C.
8 November 2015

At lunch on Christmas Eve, after talking about her nephew going through his first round of chemo and telling us of another relative with cancer, my sister-in-law said, "It's been a rough year."

Then she smiled ruefully and added, "But I said that last year."

And I added, "I think we've all been living it since October 2013."

The family gathered around the table agreed.

Later that night, as I put my mother-in-law to bed, my heart sank at the spectacle before me: how old she looked, how frail. I never expected her to just give up.

But it's been a rough year. And in many ways, next year doesn't look like it will be much of an improvement.

However, I did get a gift today and gifts like these tend to change one's way of thinking about the good, the bad and the ugly. I've not felt well for the last six months, so there has been much to-ing and fro-ing  to various doctors (just what I need: more doctors), consultations and tests and fussing. Most of this has revealed that I'm generally strong as a horse (albeit a horse with a heart condition who is partially paralyzed, but otherwise, everything is as it should be) but the unwellness remained, and there were still things to be examined. So I spent this morning at the hospital being poked at (with much ill grace, I'll admit) and in the end, we got an answer and the answer is that it's pretty easily treatable.

Of course, the underlying answer was that it was not cancer.

Later, as I staggered out to the car still under the effect of sedation, I looked up at the sky and leaves and the trees, and I thought about a story another woman had told. Her massage therapist was working on the woman's neck and told her that if she would only "look up more," her neck wouldn't hurt so much. And to the other woman, this was a revelation, as it was at the time to me. We spend time looking down at our gadgets, looking down in despair, looking down at the ailing person in the bed, looking down for whatever reason.

And I decided this morning as I climbed clumsily into the car, that in 2016, I will spend a lot more time looking up.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.

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