Things You Can Still Do

Weird morning.  A lot of death in the air.  And coming from someone whose every day reality is spent wading ankles-deep in mortality (or brain-deep, if you prefer) death being weird is itself kind of weird.

So it got me thinking.  Which it does for all of us, I suppose. Thinking about death is the most difficult and peculiar train of thinking there is, since it feels so desperately important to figure out, and yet it rarely ever allows for any sort of acceptable conclusions, minor or major.

It’s difficult.  Even just thinking about death is difficult.  And that’s saying nothing of actually dying…  (See what I mean?  isn’t that difficult to think about?)

Anyway, what I’m getting at is is this: yes, it’s difficult– it’s really fucking hard, in fact.  It’s hard to understand, it’s hard to accept, and it’s especially hard to live with.

But that’s alright.  Some things are just hard.

The least we can do to ease our myriad burdens (this one in particular) is to avoid beating ourselves up for our inability to comprehend the incomprehensible, to accept the unacceptable.  Better to nod our heads in sad recognition of the fact that we just do not and maybe will never understand certain things.  Like this one particular thing.  And hey– that’s OK!  Because it’s hard! It’s really hard!

Of the many lessons I’ve learned in four years spent brain-deep in The Most Peculiar Of All Subjects, this is one of my favorites: That some things are just hard.  And that’s OK.  It’s OK to not know what to say sometimes, or even to think.
And one of the best things you can to do to make things a little easier is to accept the fact that it’s not always going to be easy.  We’re not always going to be able to figure it out.

But that’s OK.

Sure, it sucks.  Yes, it hurts.  Some times we find ourselves standing in front of a wall that seems so impassable and incomprehensible that we want to just bang our heads against it and scream.  And make ourselves hurt even more, out of frustration that we can’t just magically make it disappear.
But then, if wait long enough, something will change.  Something will come, as easily and lightly as this morning breeze, and we’ll open our eyes, and rub our heads and look up:  and that wall will be gone.  Or at least half as tall as it was.

And we’ll smile, and  we’ll go on.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about this morning.

And it reminded me of one of the other lessons I’ve learned about death, in my last couple of years wading through it.  Here it is:

There aren’t many things you can still do, after you’re dead.  But one thing you can still do is this:

You can still make people smile.

And that’s really something, isn’t it?

This morning, someone who is no longer here, and about which I am terribly sad, still managed to make me smile.  Just thinking about her… I cried, but then suddenly I smiled.

And as difficult as all of this is, that one little part didn’t feel difficult at all.  That smile came easily, and honestly, and it felt true.  It felt like a gift.  And that gift is as real as the sadness, because here I am smiling again, right now.  Because of her.

She just did that.  Even though she’s gone.

Now that really is something.

Thanks.

9 thoughts on “Things You Can Still Do

  1. I lost my mum last November to gbm, she still makes me smile though. Keep going, keep strong and if that fails revert to plan B which is keep going and keep strong. I love reading your posts-and I know how hard the battle is-but enjoy life and it sounds like you do.

  2. I am having my 2nd Craniotomy in October for this frontal sinus from hell, am scared and have been having rather morbid thoughts about dying and such lately. Pretty much what you talked about here. So thank you for not being afraid to put this complicated subject out there!!!! You write so well! Keep it up Chad, your one of my blog inspirations and I need that more than ever these days! Hope your having lots of good days!!!! Hugs from Toronto, Canada!!!

  3. I should add that much of what you’re writing is worthy of a book of essays. Brain cancer survivors – and really anyone struggling with cancer of any kind – would find it a a big boost. I do.

  4. 🙂 keep the phaith – i was having one of those days and your post put things in perspective – thank you. Fly, Eagles, Fly!

  5. It really is special to be able to enjoy the sad/happy memories of those who are gone. Thank you for reminding me. Beautiful post, Chad!

  6. I would marry you. You are s trooper and have the best sense of humor… Or I guess id be ok with just giving you a great big hug. If it helps I can dress up like a girl. For real man good luck you are a beautiful person and I wish you the best.

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