How do you celebrate a fight for survival that’s been won? It’s the question I asked myself as my mother’s eight month battle against stomach cancer or at least her grueling schedule of chemotherapy and radiation came to an end. By living, that’s the answer, I thought.
I figured the best way to start was to tackle something we’d talked about doing for years but didn’t because we were waiting for some monumental occasion.
There’s nothing bigger than what she’s just been through, I thought as I booked a family package for indoor skydiving. Now all I need is three other family members, I thought.
I asked my brothers, my nephew’s mother, and my “stepson” but they didn’t want to do it or weren’t free. So, I reached out to the “family members” I’ve picked during my lifetime: Kiada, Sixto and Wendy. They were all in.
The five of us met at IFly Westchester. i left my cane in the car once I learned that people with back problems might not be able to fly. I wasn’t going to let my chronic illness stop me from this adventure. I’d found a way around it but fears crept in.
I wondered if my mother could control her newly skinny and somewhat frail frame. I questioned if my friend Sixto would be injured if he didn’t remove his insulin pump. I pondered the pain I might feel with wind pressure striking my back or by contorting myself. I had a lot of unsettling thoughts.
Then, I remembered a quote I’d seen recent that was attributed to Toni Morrison. It said, “You wanna fly you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down.” So, let go of my fear of “what if,” of heights, of loss of control and embarrassment. I literally leapt through the wind tunnel door and soared. I flew even higher looking at the faces of my mother and friends having the time of their lives.
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#disability #cancer #cancersucks #chronicillness #chronicpain #diabetes #spoonie #invisibleillness #survivor #mothersabddaughters #ToniMorrison #backpain