The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.

Tutu Brothers

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wish You Were Here

One of my indulgences coming out of eighteen months of intense melanoma madness was to fulfill a longstanding wish to become a part owner of a mountain condo. (I don’t have any definitive "bucket list"-- they're too goal-driven and lack spontaneity, and they remind me way too much of just another day in the law office lived in billing increments of one-tenth of an hour.) I recently spent several days at our place and delighted in the gorgeous weather, inspiring scenery, and clean mountain air spiked with the ever-present scent of my wet golden retriever. Call it my vision of Heaven on Earth. Happy old dogs were we.

But at times like these, I often feel a nagging twinge of survivor's guilt. Why have I been so very fortunate when so many others have not? The fallen melanoma warriors who've left behind young children are especially on my mind at these times. I once raised this subject with a spiritual mentor. Her response was that I shouldn't feel guilty because God apparently has plans for me that involve my continuing presence on this Earth, and my job was to listen and do my very best to fulfill those plans. I can't say that I've yet been able to fully buy into the God's Plan Theory. It seems quite presumptuous of me to think that I could possibly merit this degree of divine attention (much less intervention?) when better folks have fallen. It's a mystery I don't think I'll ever be able to solve. So, I continue to just muddle through, try to shelve the guilt, and do my best to be thankful and enjoy a full life that puts service to others first on my unwritten bucket list. And perhaps that's exactly what the fallen would advise if I could somehow consult them?

All I know for sure is that I really hate this damn disease and mourn for the lost. So, I'll end this with some new lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", and a prayer for the fallen...

So, so I pray you are well.
Heaven not Hell,
Blue skies, no pain.
Hope you rest in green fields
In the warm sun rays.
A world with no pale.
So I pray you are well.

And were you able to trade
Your tumors for Hosts?
Hospitals for trees?
Bad air for a cool breeze?
Pain IV's for peace?
And know you exchanged
A hero's part in this war
For a lead role in our rage.

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're lost too many souls
Dying from the black toll,
Year after year,
Mulling over the same old ground,
What have I found?
The same old tears.
Wish you were here.

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