Sunday, December 14, 2014

The To-Do List

 As my surgery quickly approaches, I feel this nagging desire to get as much done as possible beforehand - you know, before the pain, before my mind is dulled by the medicines to treat the pain, before I find myself on the long road to recovery.  I need to get all the Christmas presents ready; oh I better reorganize my kitchen while I'm at it; I better cook this pork before it goes bad; and the all important: I need to watch all my favorite Christmas movies!!!!!  Most of the things on my before-surgery to-do list are pretty inane.  But there is one task I have found sobering: drawing up a living will.

Don't get me wrong, the odds are with me as far as making it out of this surgery fine goes.  It will take about four hours, an incision will be made and things will be taken out of me, sliced off of me, sewn up and more.  It's not small potatoes, but it's not much of a gamble either.  It's serious enough, however, that I thought I better give some directions on what I want done in the event that something does go wrong. (Resuscitate? Intubate? Etcetera.)  Basically, it gets you thinking about your own mortality.

I wrote in my last post about my training for a 5k before my proctocolectomy.  Well, that race was today.  Ian and I registered, had our trackers on, got our t-shirts and were fully ready to jog (walk...) all around Iroquois Park.  Five minutes before the race, however I got a text: my uncle had died unexpectedly the night before.

Uncle Gale was an amazing man: he embodied godliness and joy, he was always laughing and always praying.  He had a God-given talent for music and his prayers - oh his prayers, I believe they carried enormous weight.  He has been a prayer warrior for me since I was little and diagnosed with Crohn's, into my teenage and young adult years when I was making dumb decisions, and for my parents as they moved across the world.

I was in shock.  I started weeping and knew I could mentally not do this race.  As Ian and I headed back home, I frantically tried to remember the last time I saw Uncle Gale, hoping that it might have made for a good final time together.  My husband reminded me gently that the last time I saw him, and the first and only time Ian got to meet Uncle Gale, was for dinner before we all went to the Billy Joel concert.  I had no idea that would be goodbye, and for many that is just how the final goodbye is. 

All of this to say, my pre-op to-do list has changed.  I need to show my husband how much I love him; I need to play with my son until we're both exhausted; I need to focus on the eternal. No matter how cliche, you truly never know when your time is up or when your time with a loved one is up.  I hope to keep this as my forever to-do list, even after my surgery is done and I am recovered. I am thankful to Uncle Gale for his taste for life, his prayers, and for this reminder to soak it all in as this life is fleeting. "Soon we all will be together."

When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.
Psalms 17:15b 

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