For ten days I’ve been sliding down the sheer face of a cliff, desperately grabbing for something to slow my plummet. It’s been the most painful and unsettling time I’ve experienced since my diagnosis.
Every problem feels magnified. There are no small issues. Nearly every decision is life-changing or life-threatening. I’m trying to pick through them, teasing out just one at a time so I can try to deal with something. So I can try to unravel a mess of a life.
This week I began to understand one of my many current flaws: I equate people wanting to help me with people’s want for me to live.
When I was first diagnosed, my friends had a wonderfully successful fundraiser that really helped me get through that first year and a half with an income cut in half and boatloads of new bills. Seth and I escalated our plan to combine our homes and households. I cut my expenses and changed my lifestyle to better accommodate my new income. But I still have important responsibilities, and after putting it off as long as possible, I had to bite the bullet and ask for help again.
The decision to go public seemed logical. My blog has a small but respectable audience, and I thought maybe just $10 or $15 from a lot of friendly strangers wouldn’t have a huge impact on our economy, but it would make a very significant one on me. Two new and very fun online friends helped me launch my YouCaring website at the beginning of September. We planned it using my signature Frog List: Things To Do Before I Croak.
Unfortunately, there are many people in need and only so much help to go around. There would never be a fair way to say one person is more deserving than another. (I wouldn’t anyway – it would be rude!) But I can tell you that a lot of people have a better story than I do.
I’m well-educated, middle-class, and I’ve never saved anyone from a burning building. I’ve always tried to do the right thing and live my life focused on love first. But those things don’t make me stand out. They certainly don’t make me “better” or more deserving than anyone else.
The most unique thing about me is that I could be you. Average health, with friends, a family, and a bright future, yet dying very suddenly of lung cancer. My true WANT is to be worthy of your time, interest, and compassion; not your $20.
But desperation brought me to a point where I just thought if people cared enough, everything would be okay. That somehow there would be enough strangers who cared and had money to make the end of my life as easy, comfortable, and happy as possible. I now see how illogical this is, and quite frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed for getting so carried away. Donations do not equal caring. Nor do they equal whether or not people have given up on me living.
Part of me needs to accept that I’m not going to get the help I need. I think it’s so difficult because I’ve always been able to work hard to get what I needed to take care of my family and myself. But those rules no longer apply – and that screws with one of my basic value systems. I keep coming back to “I must still have something to offer someone…”
I’m going to continue to focus on the things that bring me that intrinsic happiness. Writing for my blog and hopefully other publications too. Spending time with my loved ones. Neverending property searches to get my mom closer to me. And maybe it’s time to think about wedding details too. My Frog List will continue to drive the fundraiser website, and I will have new updates posted soon! If someone chooses to contribute, I promise the money will be used for something that will bring me peace and joy.