Things I don’t have to worry about anymore.

June 9, 2011 at 8:10 AM (Age, Awareness, Energy, Family, friends, Happy, Karma, mommy guilt, Real Life, Silver Lining, Zen) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sarah and I sat together on the couch looking at her computer, trying to make sense of things. At the moment, she was in a place of clarity, somewhere between waves of a morphine-induced fog and cancer-induced exhaustion.

“Can I help?” I asked. “What other subjects would you like to write about? You said you had more to write.”

Sentences were shorter now. Not always coming as full thoughts. But this one was clear: “Things I don’t have to worry about anymore.” Her words were dry. I helped her take a sip from her glass of water.

“Okay, I understand.”  We had talked about this before, and I knew what she meant.

Her body was weak. Her focus waxed and waned. She couldn’t hold anything up without help. She couldn’t type. But she was still Sarah, with big, beautiful smile and brilliant blue eyes looking out at all of us, surveying what, to her, must have been such an amazing picture of life. Thinking to herself…things I don’t have to worry about.

It was Monday, May 2nd. We knew what was coming. There was no stopping it. There were no more doctors. Just family and friends for support and love. And of course those helpful, pain relieving drugs. None of us wanted this, but we all knew it was reality. As Sarah and I would often say, “It is what it is.” It was as simple as that. And she had come to accept this.

Tuesday, May 3rd. Sarah died. All worries were gone.

Over the years, Sarah and I discussed, sometimes argued, about the things we worry about. Our therapist often helped us with these things. Bringing us to a better place. Better as a couple. Better as lovers. Better as parents. Better as friends.

We talked about worry and stress. What if we just didn’t have to worry? Is this what happens when you die? Worries just disappear? Maybe. Or, maybe we come to a place of peace, knowing that all those things we worry about in life will simply work themselves out – one way or another.

Is this what she meant when she said “I know I’m getting the easy way out?” Since she wouldn’t have to be concerned anymore? Worry would no longer exist?

Sarah may have been a cynic (and who wouldn’t be after five years of ups and downs from cancer, surgeries and chemo?), but I believe she became an optimist toward the end – seeing there really is no reason to worry. That our energy is put to better use in other ways.

So, what does Sarah NOT have to worry about?

1. Cancer and all its crap.

Say it with me: CRAP! CRAP! CRAP!

No more cancer. No more surgery. No more port. No more drugs. No more chemo. No more side effects. No more scans. No more waiting for results. No more wondering about the next treatment or trial – or if there will be a next treatment. No more wigs. No more hair falling out. No more hair growing back in. No more trips to the hospital during the day, nor in the middle of the night. No more oxygen tanks. No more possibility of further organ failures. No more catheters of any kind. No more injections. No more feeling like crap.

For the rest of us, cancer IS still here. Some of our friends are battling now. Some will win. Some may not. But, let’s keep hope alive. Sarah had hope. We can ALL have hope. Let’s not worry. Instead, look for cures. Look for ways to stay healthy. The Feathers will continue to send love and healing thoughts to all friends of The Carcinista who are waging their own war. Please stay well and know that love and caring is all around you.

2. Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Clearly NOT something Sarah worried about for herself. She caught it, but late. Really late. And this gave her more and more reason to want others to know the signs. Ovarian cancer is much more treatable in early stages. So, to help Sarah not worry, please spread the word.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

Learn more at one of the following:  http://www.tealtoes.org/symptoms or http://www.ovationsforthecure.org/aware/aware.php

3.  Getting a tan

From an early age, Sarah loved the sun. She loved the beach. Loved the pool. Loved being in her bikini. She called this her “happy place.” And she was the sun goddess – flipping regularly and adjusting straps so not have an uneven tan. When young – before the sunscreen craze – she always had the perfect tan during the summer. More recently, she tanned just enough – but careful about burns. And of course, making sure to get a good dose of Vitamin D.

4.  Her daily Diet Coke

Sarah’s favorite drink. Loved it cold. Some said she shouldn’t drink it for a variety of reasons. Her response, “Damn it! If I’m going to cut out everything else “bad” for me, I have to have at least one vice. And so she did.

5.  Global Warming

One of Sarah’s many sarcastic comments a few months ago while discussing possible directions for this post: “Since I’m probably going to Hell anyway, global warming doesn’t sound so bad.” Sarah cared a great deal about the environment and global warming. She worried about the future and what will be left for our kids. At least she doesn’t have to worry about it.

6.  Wrinkles

Have you seen what the celebrities are doing to themselves these days? Botox and all sorts of other weird things. Sarah was not keen of the idea of wrinkles, but I think she would have taking them, and worn them with pride.

7.  Finding the perfect outfit

Being the fashionista she was, Sarah always cared about how she looked. She even dressed up for Chemo. And why not? It made her feel good. I have to wonder what the fashion is in Heaven these days. If togas are in vogue, I’m sure she’ll be sorely disappointed (she already did that in college).

8.  Being cold
Sarah was ALWAYS cold. Well, except in the middle of the summer, or on the beach in the Caribbean. But, there was a silver lining. She used to say, in stark contract to her chili side, I was more like a furnace. And this called for lots of snuggling. We kind of balanced each other out – keeping just the right warm.

9.  Nap time

The afternoon nap was a cherished time. When we were younger, both working full time, Sarah enjoyed them on weekends. When she began working at home, afternoon naps were an enjoyable part of her day. After having kids, almost essential.

Then, cancer came. Naps were no longer just a “nice” part of the day, they were a necessity. And Sarah did worry about not getting enough. If the kids were anxious and made too much noise, or the dog was being a pain – sleep didn’t happen. If I called from the car on my way home and got a short answer, I knew her sleep had been restless.

But now, I’m sure she’s resting when she wants to, on her favorite beach. It’s warm. There’s a nice breeze. She’s got a great tan. Eyes closed. Sweet dreams dancing in her head.

10.  A replacement

Sarah often talked about my “next wife” and how I should find someone just right. She even wanted to help. But, I’m glad this is something she won’t be worrying about. I’m not. If it’s meant to be, I’m sure it’ll happen. If not, that’s fine too. When I met Sarah, I knew she was “the one” just three days after meeting her. And while our relationship was not always perfect (who’s is?), I’d take our 18 years together and enjoy them again in a heartbeat.

PS.  If and when I do find someone, there is no possibility of a replacement. Sarah will always be one of a kind.

11.  Her three boys

She worried, and she didn’t. She knew we were well prepared and have a great support system. I remember the first time I heard her say something about a support system. It was before our oldest son was born. She wanted to stay on the East Coast because it was close to her family, her support system. This was a foreign term to me at the time, but have grown to love it and all that it means. Our friends and family are truly amazing. I know Sarah is not worried at all.

12.  Dust bunnies

There are many parts of life that are just that, life. Dust bunnies and all. So, stop worrying. Make sure you live each day. Take some time to enjoy the little things – and the big things, too.

We miss you Sarah. Thank you for helping us see and know what is important in life.

Love,

- Mr. Wonderful

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44 Comments

  1. sandhy said,

    great post – today I have another friend with a recurrence…you post really helped me calm down. good timing Mr W!
    Thanks
    x

    • Elizabeth Faust said,

      Wonderful post. I shouldn’t of read this before work. Now I have to redo my makeup!

  2. AnnaCCChronicles said,

    Incredible. I get it and I love it. And I’m quite sure everybody has hair in heaven. Love to you Mr Wonderful. Thank you for continuing to keep Sarah’s voice alive for us. P.S. I get dressed up for chemo too….Sarah would love my sassy new peach-fuzz hiding Fedora ;)

  3. Beth L. Gainer said,

    Mr. Wonderful,

    Thank you for this eloquent posting. It is a reminder that the things we worry about in life are insignificant compared to a devastating disease like cancer.

    I appreciate your candor. And I thank you for this posting deep within my heart.

  4. patricia said,

    Thank you for all of the reassurances, hopefulness and love. Thinking of you, the boys and Sarah, constantly. No worries, mate…today is a good day, where and what to do?
    xx’s, patricia

  5. themudroom said,

    Ed,

    I love hearing Sarah’s words through you…I miss her every day and I’m so glad you guys are in our life.

    XOXO
    P

  6. Boston Mamas said,

    Hugs, hugs, hugs. Beautiful post, Ed.

  7. Nancyspoint said,

    Simply beautiful, just like Sarah. Thank you so much for this post.

  8. cancerfree2b said,

    Thank you. Thank you very much. I have had a rough month – your post was a big help to me today. May your beautiful Sara rest in peace.

    Lisa

  9. Emily McArthur said,

    A beautiful post, I loved reading it. It takes a strong person to write so openly after such a huge loss. You perfectly evoke the warm, lovely, funny woman that Sarah was. And you have reminded everyone that we have to be grateful for everyday.

    Thank you.

    Emily

  10. tea said,

    Amazing how the words of the Dynamic Duo (you and Sarah) can make simultaneously me laugh and cry – again and again.
    Thanks for continuing the words of wisdom .. and the smiles.

  11. Jessica Barker said,

    Thank you so much for the post. I am going through another rough time and this reminded me to think of the important things and not worry about the little things. As always you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Alicia said,

    You were two peas in one pod, wonderful post Ed. Thank you so much for sharing yet again the Sarah we all came to know and love. As I sit here tearing up it is with a smile because I get it, it’s a wonderful message you’ve passed on to us today. We should all be so lucky to have the wisdom and words you both were blessed with. Blessings to you and the family!

  13. John G. T. Slater, Jr. said,

    Ed,

    Thanks for doing such a fantastic job of keeping Sarah’s spirit in our conciousness. I know your writing makes Sarah proud, as she reads over your shoulder. I, too, am laughing and crying….

    Cheers!

    –John

  14. Emily said,

    Mr. W., it’s beautiful way Sarah’s wisdom lives on through you. Thank you so much for sharing these words, which are brimming not only with lessons from your amazing wife, but from you, as well. The Feathers are a true force of nature.

  15. tori said,

    Great job Ed. I can picture Sarah sitting here at my kitchen table and laughing at me for so easily crying yet again – she thought I was such a crybaby. Truly bittersweet and important information for us all.

  16. Jane Roper said,

    Wonderful post. Thanks to both of you for sharing this.

  17. Betty Langley said,

    From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Mr. Wonderful. Am so glad to hear Sarah;s voice through your words.

  18. Nancy said,

    So many others have already said what went through my mind and heart as I read this. Thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us.

  19. Teal Toes said,

    Free symptom cards available at http://www.TealToes.org/contact

    May no one else worry….

  20. Esta Shindler said,

    Dear Ed (dba Mr. Wonderful),

    It’s so great that you are continuing Sarah’s blog-what an appropriate way to perpetuate her legacy, her spirit and her memory. I thank you for your generosity in sharing these thoughts which are a potent reminder of what our priorities should be.

    I hope that you, Whit, Avery, Julie and Tom find comfort in remembering and talking about Sarah and her personality, her personna, her sense of humor and her strength. I did not know her well but could not help but observe a very special quality that she had. She added a certain class and charm to Blackberry Lane, and I enjoyed our chance encounters during my walks up and down the street.

    It appears from the Lotsa Helping Hands website that all of the meal assignments have been taken for June. I’ll be calling you to find out when you’d like to have that wonderful lasagna bolognese.

    Stan joins me in sending all of you our warm thoughts, wishes and love,

    Esta Shindler

  21. WhiteStone said,

    I loved the Carcinista and her fighting spirit and her way with words and her love for life, her hubby, her boys. She was one of my ovca heroes (heroines).

    I’m in my 60s and I’m still an Iowa farm girl more comfy in blue jeans than anything else. But I always made sure I had brow pencil and eyeliner on when I went to chemo. A bright t-shirt and pretty scarf or hat. Hated the wig. Hair loss twice. Hair returned twice. On chemo again but I’m praying it will be easy and work well. If not? Well, I’m with Sarah…what to worry. I’m content and satisfied where I am and I’ll sit beside Sarah someday on the beach…except I’ll be wearing a long-sleeve shirt to keep the freckles from popping on my arms.

    Hug those boys tonight. Keep your own heart bright. Extra hug here for you.

  22. Jan said,

    Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful post . You and Sarah….very special for sure. Blessings, Jan

  23. Trina arnett said,

    What a beautiful post! Thais for the reminder about what matters… And what we shouldn’t worry about….

  24. Philippa (Feisty Blue Gecko) said,

    Thanks for such a moving post. As a skilled worrier, I found it very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing these treasured thoughts. Warm wishes

  25. Katie said,

    Just beautiful. Thank you so much for this gift.

    Katie

  26. Anna said,

    We all could see why you love Sarah ; with this, it is so very clear to see why she loved you.

  27. pinkunderbelly said,

    I”m so touched and moved and grateful for this post. You have an amazing gift of expressing such pure thoughts, and your attitude is an example to us all. I’m a worrier by nature, but will carry your words with me as I work on” letting it go.”

  28. Maggie said,

    Thanks for the reminders, Mr. Wonderful. You two must have been quite the pair!

  29. Ally said,

    Wow! Great post! You and the family are in our thoughts!

  30. Denise said,

    Wow, I am thankful that I found Sarah. Your post is enlightening and just beautiful. I wish I could have met her……..you are a blessing.

  31. Barbara said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your & Sarah’s story. I am a 7 year widow and can completely relate to your comments about “a replacement.” Someday maybe I’ll get married again but you are correct….it won’t be “the one.” I’ve already loved “the one.” Today happens to be our wedding anniversary so it is very timely to be reading this.

    • Sarah said,

      Hi Barbara. Happy anniversary. I hope you were able to enjoy the day and cherish some happy memories. One thing that Sarah and I learned while we had each other was that life is very much worth living to its fullest – every day. I intend to do that. I do hope you are doing the same. If and when I do find another woman to be in my life, it will be a wonderful thing. But it will take time, I’m sure. And I will wait to find the right person who will fit in my life well, and who will be a good part of my kids lives. I hope you are able to do the same – if that is what you want.
      – Mr. Wonderful

      • Barbara said,

        I am of the mindset that living my life to the fullest does not mean I have to “settle” to have a partner….unfortunately, it seems all my friends, family etc thinks that means I’m not opening myself for opportunity. Yes I am, but opportunity for ME and my kids….not a “replacement.” I have too many friends that are lonelier in their relationship than I am alone – but alone after being in a wonderful relationship.

        Thanks again for sharing your story with all of us!

  32. ButDoctorIHatePink said,

    We were so much alike. I love clothes, I love to tan, I am always cold, I’ve always napped, beaches are my favorite place and “it is what it is” is my cliched mantra.

    Thanks for posting.

  33. Adele said,

    What a touching, funny, personal post. like many others, i was laughing with tears in my eyes. I can always feel Sarah’s generosity of spirit in Mr. W’s writing, there is a remarkable kinship in their relationship that, as as reader, i continue to love being part of. I am thinking of Sarah and her boys often this summer. I hope a trip to the Mauff House is possible, the welcome mat is always at the door. xo

    • Sarah said,

      Hi Adele – thank you. Definitely would love to get together again this summer and come for a visit. I’ll send an email with some dates. – Mr. Wonderful

  34. Amy Durfee West’s Blog » Blog Archive » Update June 17 said,

    [...] there’s this touching blog post called “Things I don’t have to worry about anymore” from “Mr. [...]

  35. Jennifer said,

    Absolutely beautiful words, Mr. Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. I just started reading Sarah’s blog a few weeks before she passed away. I lost my best friend to stage IV breast cancer the end of January. It has been very tough. She was like my sister. We knew each other for 13 years and did life together. Her children are 13, 11 and 9. I prayed for Sarah before she passed. I have prayed for you and your boys as well. I pray you find comfort and peace during this time. I had to laugh, and cry a little, when you wrote about Sarah’s Diet Coke. My best friend loved Diet Coke too and struggled with whether or not she should drink it while having cancer. She did. :) My friend loved the beach as well. Maybe Sarah, and my friend Melissa, are enjoying the beach together right now in Heaven. I’m sure it’s the most beautiful beach they’ve ever seen with the best breeze ever! Never a sunburn to worry about either!
    Thanks again for sharing and God bless you. Btw, I am going to show this to my friend’s husband. Thank you.

  36. Kathleen said,

    My heart skips a beat when I see an email from The Carcinista. It brings me such joy to continue to have some connection to Sarah and her family. Thank you for the update and perspective. I think of Sarah and her “boys” often.

    With Love from the heartland!

  37. Douglas Glenn Clark said,

    I admire your courage and defiance. I too am a cancer survivor. I wish you every success and blessing.
    Douglas Glenn Clark

    http://bit.ly/njloPc

  38. Catherine said,

    To Mr Wonderful,

    I’m Catherine I’m 42 and two weeks ago today June 30 2011, I received my first pre-op chemo (plax/carbo) for ovarian cancer IIIc diagnosed on 27/06/2011… it’s been a whirlwind of… everything… and nothing!

    I’ve found your place and just started your journey in 2009.

    Thank you for keeping your darling wife and mother’s memory alive… I am sure she is now my help as I find a path, already I have found a similarity in our personalities!

    My sincerest condolence, I’m sorry for your loss and thank you

    k

  39. Jennifer L said,

    Wonderful blog…… I wish I had known her! (I am a friend of a friend….)

  40. That hospital smell « The Pink Underbelly said,

    [...] Through intrepid bloggers like the beloved Rachel and the eminently wise Susan and the witty Sarah (who had ovarian, not breast, cancer), I’ve learned first-hand that while being diagnosed [...]

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