Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 59

Bolstered by ingrained cultural beliefs and the occasional places and individuals. One doesn’t have to be an artist ghost, I’ve managed to make peace with death. After to engage in creative work. From the easy task of enjoying escaping a dysfunctional family many years ago, I had a coloring book made for adults to experimenting with learned early on to live with purpose. After the cancer fabric paint, art can be a relaxing and mindful activity. For diagnosis, this meant spending as much quality time with some reason my paintings have been exploring the subject loved ones as possible. Savoring the little things in life matter of angels. Gee, I wonder why. also mattered more: admiring a colorful sunset, trying a   strange new food with my only sister, or secretly doing a kind deed and watching the resulting ripple of positivity. It’s OK to Laugh Since I have a nutty sense of humor, I frequently lift a When I was still able to work, I focused on jobs I enjoyed. gloomy atmosphere by pranking friends and playing Trust me; you’re far more productive and successful when harmless jokes. People can’t focus on depressing thoughts you like what you do. when they’re too busy laughing. For some inexplicable reason, our societal norms dictate we must maintain a This attitude carried over to hospice. Working around strictly formal and grim stance around the subject of physical limitations, I have endeavored to keep busy. death. As if laughter and positive attitudes are somehow Recording thoughts and experiences in a journal has impolite. That bizarre assumption can’t be further from the become an enjoyable activity. The book-like journal I’ve truth. been keeping will be left behind for loved ones to read after I’m gone. This is something anyone can do. Not Ignoring society’s absurd norms, I’ve been guilty of using only is it therapeutic for the patient, but it’s a wonderful an electronic fart machine and wearing ridiculously crazy gift for grieving family and friends. Of course, I was sure hats in the chemo ward. There was the “exotic pet” in a to write things I didn’t mind loved ones reading. I also hat box that I pranked people with (it was my wig), as secretly wrote long letters to each close family member well as a rubber gecko and fake puppy poop. The more and friend, sharing fond memories of the individual and laughter my mischief brought, the more creative I became. how important they are to me. These letters have been Clowning around was much more fun than moping. Of concealed so they’ll be found only after my passing. While course, it’s crucial to be sensitive and respectful to anyone initially they may provoke tears, in the long run the letters who doesn’t wish to be bothered. Most people are OK will be treasured keepsakes and a way to connect. with witnessing or being subjected to light-hearted jokes. People crave laughter but often need someone else to I realize that if I have something to say, it’s best to do it in come along and break the ice. person before it’s too late. The ideal is to leave this world with no regrets. We must endeavor to forgive and not take Does being negative and depressingly serious all the time unresolved bitterness to the grave. I had the most difficult improve a situation? No. It won’t dispel one’s illness and time learning to forgive my abusive, alcoholic father. just makes those around the miserable person unhappy The complicated process of absolving his cruelty took as well. What’s the point of that? Of course, we have a a long time. My dad hasn’t been in my life since young right to express negative emotions along with the positive. adulthood, but I was able to eventually resolve ill feelings A poor mood needs to be faced and understood, not without his presence. Tying up loose emotional ends is a suppressed. I may be unable to renew my body, but we must for a peaceful passing. One of the secrets to life, humans always have the power to work through and heal something many find elusive yet deep down know to be emotional and mental issues. true, is kindness and unconditional love. Negativity only becomes problematic when it perpetually A hobby in visual arts is another way I pass the time and overrules everything else. Breaking out of a blue mood my finished works are donated, sometimes sold, to various isn’t easy though. It takes effort and the first step is the 59