How do you write like you’re/Running out of time?
Write day and night like you’re/ Running out of time?
How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive?
How do you write like you need it to survive?
How do you write ev’ry second you’re alive?
Ev’ry second you’re alive? Ev’ry second you’re alive?
Hamilton (the musical), “Non-stop.”
My kids have been into Hamilton for the past couple of years. I finally got to go see it myself last week. There are many aspects to the character of Hamilton that I can relate to. Saying what you believe. Fighting for what you believe. Even if it’s from a scrappy place, where you are breaking from all of the conventional rules and norms. That’s me.
I grew up in a place where my internal home life and what may have advertised outside of it were in stark contrast. I was bragged about quite often, externally to my Mother’s family. Living inside of it was a different story. My Mom was not the openly affectionate type. My Mom was the critical type.
Do I believe that she loved me? Yes, I do. But her own problems were usually her highest priority. She had no time for my needs or my emotions. I had no idea how abnormal this was until I had children of my own. I had a distorted view of what motherhood should feel like and look until I had children of my own.
When I was already an adult, my mother did a stint in rehab. She was trying the steps. At one point, she opened up. “Heather, I’m really sorry about some of the things that I remember saying to you as a child. They were really terrible, and cruel. I’m sorry that I didn’t realize that until now.”
I didn’t know what to say.
- After I became an adult, my mother was always saying how proud she was of me.
- After I became an adult, she would be almost saccharine when she was around me.
- After I became an adult, I resented it. It felt fake.
It’s easy to be a loving mother to an adult daughter who lives in another state, is doing well for herself and never asks you for anything. It’s very hard to raise a child. It was too little/too late by that point. My guard was already up. And when I tried to give her room to come back in? She fell off the wagon and messed up. While I was in the hospital after my second child was born, she baby-sat my oldest. We came home to several bottles in our bar half-drained and found her prescription medicine on our floor within easy reach of my toddler. I just couldn’t any more.
Fuck appearances. Appearances are what my Mom’s side of the family have always been about. Perfect on the outside, indelibly flawed inside.
Fuck fake. It’s what’s real and what’s genuine that matters.
This is another reason why I have never been very good at playing the game (unless, of course, it really is a game- like negotiations or poker).
So yes, I relate to Hamilton. I can’t afford to wait. And, like Hamilton, I care about my legacy. NOT my family’s legacy. My own. This is the “why” behind this blog.
And yes, I write like I am running out of time. Because I am. And my time got shorter today.
I went in to get a liver resection that was potentially going to add years to my life. I walked out without a resection and news that my peritoneal disease was too extensive for any type of surgery.
I walked out with less time than I walked in.
And it fucking hurts. But it will hurt more tomorrow. Today I am in shock.
My family is all that matters. And this blog? It’s my form of therapy. And something real- something GENUINE of me that I can leave behind.
Today’s wake-up call has forced me to accelerate some things.
- I am getting to a point where I can no longer afford to preoccupy my days with trivial work matters.
- I am getting to a point where I need to make my health, and living as long as I can for my kids, my full-time job.
- I am getting to a point where I need to write letters to my husband and kids.
- I am getting to a point where I need to face my final frontier- forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t something that I do. When you break my trust, you are dead to me. But I need to do it. Not for them, but for me. Before I die.
- I am getting to the point where I need to finalize death plans.
- I am getting to a point where I need to live every day, and every moment as if it were my last.
How precious is life! How precious is time! I can’t believe how we whittle it all away. Alex Trebek has stage 4 cancer. He is in his 70s. Everyone is feeling sorry and all I can think is, “What I wouldn’t give to make it to my 70s!”
I don’t get 70. I don’t get 60. I don’t get 50. I am going to try to fight like hell for the best treatment and also catch a lot of luck at this point to even make it to 45.
I am running out of time.