This one is more of a meditation that I find helpful when trying to explain to others and also helps me to plot where I am. At the moment I still keep looking back at the wreckage and wishing.....
Chatted to my folks last night and my brother gave me a really helpful image about side roads which I have been thinking about and which coincided with the therapist’s helpful thoughts about things not ever being the same.
Having incurable cancer feels for me as though I’ve been speeding along in my favourite car, merrily tootling away. Stereo on, steadily making my way forwards, when suddenly there’s a barrier straight ahead and I’ve crashed into it, wrecking the motor and all the wheels falling off.
Everyone I love is following me in other cars; some even get hit by flying wreckage. Fortunately, I’m not injured in the crash and I can get out of the car. Everyone else can drive round the barrier and carry on blithely but they’re horrified by the crash and get out to help me. I look at the car, I get in and try frantically to turn it round and carry on but it won’t start, it’s ruined. Shame, I loved that car. I step out of the car again and realise how lucky I am to be walking, talking, chatting and feeling perfectly healthy - just shocked.
As I look dazedly about me I can see that there are several side roads. The road doesn’t go via the route Stuart and I were intending to go but Stuart and my family and friends are still with me and I know the destination is the same as those that I love so it’s not too bad. In fact, I’ll probably reach there well before them but I don’t know. None of the ways are signposted, not even the one I was on, there are never any mile-posts.
Fortunately there’s an empty horse and cart waiting in a layby. I can travel onward. It won’t be as comfortable as my Honda CRX but I’ll be able to hear the birds singing and appreciate the flowers. I’ll be able to take it more slowly, savour the air and see all around me. I’ll get bumped and rained on and there are no headlights. All my loved ones agree to hop into the cart with me which I feel bad about but I am nevertheless very reassured by their company and wouldn’t be without them and we can hear each other more clearly and point out interesting things and drink wine as we go along. Friends and acquaintances will take a diversion in order to pass me in their cars, nice and safe (as safe as one can ever be) but they’ll hop up with me from time to time, honk cheerfully or call encouragements from the windows as they pass and re-join the original route.
At some point and we’ll have to get out and walk when the horse gets tired and there’s a steep hill. Eventually I’ll start to stagger a bit but that’s OK because the destination is much closer, Stuart is with me, and my friends and family are still there, holding my hands and there won’t be much further for me to go. Eventually I will have to pass through a gap where no one can follow me but that’s OK too because I’ll be able to see the garden beyond the gap and I’m looking forward to meeting the owner (if a little nervous).
I know my loved ones will feel a bit sad by my leaving them (I like to think there’ll be parking issues near the gap!) but I’m glad to know that they can return to their cars, which are waiting in a layby and enjoy a more comfortable onward journey. They will meet me at the garden in due course.