As I sat in my car waiting for S to get out of dance class, Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” came on the radio. I listened to country for a long, long time, but my music taste is eclectic. I go from country to classical to R&B to rap to alternative to rock to pop…sometimes all in the same day. I haven’t heard “Live Like You Were Dying” in a long time, and I certainly haven’t heard it since August. I would have changed the radio station had it come on, and to be honest, I gave my preset buttons a hard stare as the opening chords played just now.
I didn’t change the channel. I forced myself to listen to the lyrics even though I know them by heart.
I don’t really feel as though I live like I’m dying. I guess there’s some irony there. I have cancer. Who knows how many hours are left on my clock? I don’t take much time for me. I spend as much as I can with my kids and A. I spend a lot of nights crying myself to sleep long after A is asleep so I don’t worry him. I hug my children a lot more than I did. Maybe that is living like I’m dying. I don’t know.
I haven’t gone to the beach in years. I haven’t gone back to New York. I haven’t gone back to the Smokey Mountains, one of the few places I’ve been where the beauty of the morning took my breath away. I haven’t gone to Ireland, one of my dream vacation spots. I haven’t gone back to London. I haven’t been to Italy. Most of my bucket list has to do with traveling, apparently.
I don’t want to go skydiving (I’m scared of heights). I’ve ridden a mechanical bull (it’s a thing here in Dallas). I’ve been fake-rock rock climbing. There are few risky things I want to do. My bucket list is simple. Travel with my family. That’s it.
I think everyone has a bucket list. I wish I didn’t feel an urgency to mine. But, I do. A is already talking about us going to NYC this fall, if I’m ok. Back when this roller coaster started, I told A I want a few days at the beach after my last herceptin treatment. We’ve talked about whether we keep saving up for England or go to Ireland or Italy instead. I think A feels a certain urgency for my bucket list, too. I wish he didn’t.
I wish I didn’t think about living like I’m dying. I could die tomorrow. I could live until I’m 100 like one of my great grandmothers. None of us know.
But cancer sure makes time seem more precious and scarce.