Diary of A Quitter – Phase V

Diary of A Quitter

 

Phase V – Bring it

 

 

It’s been One Hundred and Thirteen days since my last cigarette. But who’s counting?

We are now in February and, honestly, the constant struggle has now become random. There are moments when I realize my mouth is actually watering for a smoke. I know that seems odd, but if you’re a smoker, you know. The frustrating thing is, these moments seem to have nothing in common. Playing with the grand kids, quietly watching television, talking on the phone, none of it matters. My body wants nicotine. It’s a fact I have to live with. I did it to myself. No one made me put that first smoke to my lips. Speaking of which, I can now recall that moment without the pangs of addiction.

On that day, I was leaving high school for my part-time job at McDonald’s. As I walked toward the school’s parking lot a girl shouted, “Hey! You got a cigarette?” In my youthful sarcasm I shouted back, “Nah. You?” And then a third person said, “C’mon over here. I got a pack.” A gorgeous guy that I’d been dying to meet held out his pack of smokes toward me.

I am now fifty-seven years old. Still wishing I’d kept walking.

Nicotine is a beast. A beast to fear, and one that demands respect. Yeah, I’ll say it. Fearfully respect the beast. No matter how long it’s been since the last smoke, that urge, the demand for more, never goes away completely. Because as much as I’d hoped it would, it doesn’t die. Every time the beast taps me on the shoulder, every time the demon smiles seductively, the fight begins anew, but for a shorter amount of time, each time. I must be strong. No one else can do it for me. Nothing else can be blamed. My own weakness wakes the monster.

Today, 113 days later, I can say with confidence that I am a non-smoker. Yes, the fight rages on, but in odd and sporadic moments. I can handle that. Not the first time I’ve quit (but it will be the last).

I fear this scene may play out for the rest of my life:

Demon: I see you’re a bit stressed. Sheesh, deadlines, am I right?

Me: Go away.

Demon: Don’t be like that. I’m here to help. Let’s get you something to de-stress.

Me: (voice weaker) Go away.

Demon: Are you sure you don’t want to take a ride? It’s been long enough. All of the nicotine must be out of your system by now. One cigarette won’t kill you.

Me:  (whimper) True, but…

Demon: Just one, then we’ll throw the rest away.

Me: (Trying to catch my breath, hands trembling) God, help me! I’m so fucking weak! (Takes a deep breath.) No! Not again! (Clenched fists.) C’mon, Demon! Is that the best you got? I said GO AWAY!

Demon: (Smiles seductively.) Okay. See you next time.

Me:  (feeling a bit stronger) Yeah. Bring it.

***

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

McShane Update

For everyone who follows my McShane series, I’ve just fixed a MAJOR plot hole (big enough to drive a truck through) in the upcoming book five. What does that mean, you might ask? Well, it means that book 5, The Lonesome Lighthouse, will be ready to send to my editor by the end of February. Which, in real time, means Amazon will see my latest installment before the end of March! I’m so excited!

If you’ve not read the Mini-Mystery books one through four, I would NOT recommend starting with book five. There are a lot of characters pulled from those previous incarnations and you might get a little lost if your unfamiliar. Each story should take a little under an hour of uninterrupted reading. You’ll find links for them at the top tab of this page marked McShane Mini-Mystery, along with a small excerpt of the work in progress (You’re welcome).

As an aside to those following the bi-sexual, billionaire redhead, you may want to brush up on the previous tales before publication.

This promises to be one of the most exciting adventures for Summer Autumn Malone McShane. One thing is certain. McShane will never be the same.

Diary of A Quitter – Phase IV

Diary of A Quitter

 

Phase IV – Frustration

It has been 64 days since I’ve told the next phase of the Quitter’s story. Allow me to explain.

Contained within those 64 days were the holidays that come to us at the end of each year. The magical time of year when we all live care-free, stress-free lives, enraptured in the joy that… (bleck!)

Meanwhile, in the real world… My fight with addiction continued. The friend that was to quit with me was unable to withstand the pressure of breaking the addiction. I couldn’t blame her. There were days that nicotine never entered my mind. But, of course there were the other days.

You may recall my mantra from Phase III.

He will not win.

I’ll not give in.

He won’t prevail.

I will not fail.

Yeah, I gave that shit up after 4 days or so. Talk about an earworm. It really got on my nerves. Reciting it through clenched teeth made me realize the mantra probably wasn’t performing its original intent. Which would be to calm me down. Right.

It seemed everything provided an extra heap of helping on what remained of my nerves. My four grandchildren, perfect as they are, really seemed to piss me off throughout December. No one would have been able to tell, because I kept my irritation to myself (I’m sure I did). Besides, there were so many other little things that annoyed me, no one could have noticed my impatience with the kids.

I was a real jewel to be around, no doubt about it. Several times I tried to write an installment of Diary, but talk about writer’s block! Whenever I considered just the title, a wave of desire for that one hit consumed me. One of the ways I distracted myself was trying to remember my first cigarette. I’m pretty sure it was 1975. I was in high school. My parents were chain smokers, and I remember the odor… hmm, that one drag sure would be nice.

DAMMIT!!

Since the holidays have passed, I’ve been finding fewer and fewer things to blame my stress on. The remarkable thing is, I have fewer and fewer reasons to need that scapegoat. The whispers of temptation still come, but they are rare. And random.

Frustration had been the rule of the day throughout the holidays. Looking back, I beat myself up over my behavior. I tried to apologize to my husband for things he doesn’t remember happening. God, I love that man.

My last smoke was October 25. It’s now February. I’ve reread my Diary, and am ready to embrace the fifth, and final, step to smoke free living. As a refresher, the opening tale, I Quit Smoking. Again. Then came the Phases. I – Busted, II – Truth, III – Struggle, and this Frustration is IV. I’m now ready for V.

And I promise, I won’t keep you guessing another 64 days.

***

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Diary of A Quitter – Phase III

Phase III – The Struggle

 

 

I’m not gonna lie. This has been tough.

To recap the story, I lied to my world of people about the fact that I had started smoking again. Then the ONE person I truly wanted to spare the knowledge of my weakness, discovered the sham. The first phase was Busted. The second phase was me facing the Truth. Which brings the next phase of The Struggle.

I’ve wrestled the demons of addiction before. Some are stronger than others. Cocaine was a rough one to beat. But, I did. There is not a hint of desire for that demon to be back in my life. The last time I fought nicotine though, it only played dead. I know because the sensuous seduction returned when I was at my ultimate weakest to resist. Which means, unlike cocaine, it was never truly beat.

Perhaps you’re thinking there is nothing sensuous or seductive about a cigarette. Congratulations. You, my friend, are a non-smoker. However, there are others who might understand the allure of the first smoke of the morning, the after-lunch-deep-drag, or the twilight puff while watching the sunset. There are other times that are just as powerful, but these particular moments are ingrained deep in my psyche. These are the moments, for me, that the demon of nicotine is the most sensually seductive.

October 25 saw my last cigarette. Thirty-four days and counting, so far. There have been times that it never crossed my mind to have a smoke. I don’t know the why of that, or else I’d certainly share the information and engage it permanently. Because there are other days, when all of the stress just boils over.

We’re human. There will be stress. Sometimes in an overabundance. On one of these occasions, while alone and pacing through the house, I found myself looking in all of the places I’d hidden cigarettes before. None were to be found (Curse you, past self!). The car held another hiding spot. I checked there two or three times. Once with the keys in my hand, temptation to go buy a pack at the breaking point.

Between all of the searching, the question, “Why are you even looking?” screamed through my brain. The question seemed ludicrous. I tried to ignore it. The next question, “What are you going to do if you do find one?” was not so easily dismissed.

Shocked, I stopped looking. Because the answer to that question was obvious. “Smoke it. Then pretend it never happened.” I stepped back and realized what I was doing…

 

Demon: I see you’re stressed. A hit of nicotine might help ease that up a bit.

Me: Man, it really would. But I don’t have any on hand.

Demon: Are you sure? Have you checked?

My Spirit: Why are you even looking?

Me (ignoring Spirit): Yes.

Demon: Let’s check again.

My Spirit: Why are you even looking?

Me: Still nothing.

Demon: Did you check the car?

Me: Yep (rattle keys).

Demon: Let’s –

My Spirit: What are you going to do if you do find one?

Me: Smoke it. Then lie.

Demon: [Smiles]

 

This is the weakest I have felt, and the fight wages on. I cannot let the demon win. To smoke would be to allow the cancer-causing, foul-smelling, breathing-inhibitor, not to mention lie generator, back in my life.

 

My new mantra is;

He will not win.

I’ll not give in.

He won’t prevail.

I will not fail.

 

My poetry may be weak, but the struggle sure as hell ain’t.

 

***

JL Mo is mother to two full-grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Diary of A Quitter – Phase II

Phase II – Truth

 

 

The mental gymnastics we perform in order to convince ourselves to do something that we don’t want to do are amazing. You cannot deny, at least once in your life, you’ve lied to yourself in such a convincing way that you even came to believe it. That is, until the whole thing blew up in your face.

To light a cigarette, and take that first, deep drag was my end goal. That’s all I wanted. Just that first hit. I told myself the one lungful of tar and nicotine had a calming effect on my nerves. With stress piling up, just that one hit could set me right again. Buy a pack, take that hit, then throw the rest away.

I hate smoking. I hate the way it tastes, the smell it leaves on me, the expense. All of it.

This takes strength to admit. I am strong.

I lie to myself quite well, don’t you think?

Lies. The truth and strength I’m searching for are layered in them. I put them there. Layer after layer, it had grown thicker and thicker, until the truth became unrecognizable.

My husband, in a hurt and sardonic tone, threw the spotlight on the congealed mess I’d made of things. “So, you’re lying to me.”

No! I should have screamed in protest. I’m lying to me. Not you! Me! You had nothing to do with this.

Now, the backward gymnastics begin.

I was hiding the truth. From me. And from him. I was lying. To myself first. Then him, and then just about everyone else in the end. I lied about smoking. I lied about where I was going when I went to buy that destined-for-the-trash pack. I ate something strong to cover the hideous, hated taste the cigarette left behind. Can you see all the layers I’d hidden the truth in? Because I didn’t.

As an aside to those who might wonder: I have battled the demons of addiction in many forms. The demon of nicotine is the strongest by far. No shit. I hate him.

The time had arrived to quit smoking. This time it’s permanent. (Stop snickering.) This is not new ground, it should be easy by now. It is not. Dammit, this will be the last time.

I still didn’t see the truth.

Weak from the struggle and humbled by the strength necessary to overcome my base desire, I began to pray. Scoff if you will, but I prayed hard. Prayer buoys me. To rise above the flesh and see the problem from a detached, matter-of-fact level offers more hope than I can explain. Besides, if I’m really lucky, I’ll get a God-smack of truth out of it.

While in prayer, I’m given the knowledge that this hated, hateful demon would be beaten back. Encouragement coursed through me. I am strong. That is not a lie. I will be made free of this demon. That is not a lie. God is with me (I really should pray like this more often).

I quit on a Wednesday. The first day I did pray for strength. And that prayer was granted. No secret trips to the store. Yea! The second day went smooth enough, but I did a lot of praying. I mean, a lot. My friend wasn’t going to quit for another week, and I hoped that the first couple of days would be okay for her.

Day three was a Saturday and we were going out with a few friends to a Halloween party. My soon-to-be-quitting friend offered me a nicotine patch. She reminded me that while drinking, the urge was strong, and the mind was weak. Her logic made sense. I accepted the crutch/patch gladly. The end of the night found me exhausted from dancing, inebriated, and laughing all the way home. Not a thought for a cigarette the entire time.

The morning after. I woke up with a slight headache, but attributed that to the alcohol. Duh. But a cigarette! I could think of little else. The concentration for prayer escaped me. The demon had sidled up and whispered everything would be fine with just one, deep, drag. If I had been alone I can’t say that I would’ve made it through the day smoke-free. But I wasn’t alone. My husband was there. I turned to him in my weakness, instead of sneaking off for a covert meeting with my hated demon.

Then I remembered. The nicotine patch was still adhered to my left arm.

I yanked it off, cussing.

In that moment, the realization of the ineffectiveness of this crutch hit me hard. This system is not for me. My approach to quitting is stop. Just stop. No chemicals, no bargaining, no backsliding. The inner battle is my own to deal with. This nicotine patch system still puts the drug in my body, just not through the lungs. What the F good is that? I’m fighting this addiction with every tooth and nail, and then I gave the demon exactly what it demanded? Argh! Once the delivery system on the patch ran dry, my body wanted more, and flooded me with the need for more.

It was on that Sunday the truth blew through the layers of lies.

Truth: I love the demon named Nicotine. But, if I don’t get him out of my life now, he will kill me.

As with any other abusive, toxic relationship, this must end.

God-smack received.

 

****

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Diary of A Quitter – Phase I

 

Phase I – Busted

I noticed an odd phenomenon when I gave up smoking back in 2000. At first, if someone lit one up around me, it smelled so good. I’d find that person and go stand near them, just for the second hand smoke. Afterward, a year or so I guess, the odor started making me turn away. To this day, I never know how my body will react to the smell of tobacco burning. Whether it is appealing or repulsive, the reactions are polar opposites, much to my chagrin.

My return to the world of smoking began during one of the times when the smoke smelled really good (duh). Also, pain and frustration from a recent surgery. Also, stress. Also, I can come up with at least four or five other good/bad/embarrassing reasons/excuses for putting the nasty thing to my lips. Basically though, addiction. There are any number of excuses I had for lighting up. None of them good, and I knew this to be true.

During this rough patch, I invented a game to play with my own psyche. I bought a pack at a convenience store. Then, I took one out, and threw the rest in the trash can at the store. Only one, I told myself. Just to get the monkey off my back. This happened once a month. Then, twice a month. Then, once a week. Finally, I hid the pack in my purse, instead of throwing it in the trash.

Yes, the reason was addiction. I’ll also admit to a slight thrill. Since a ‘thrill’ is excitement with an element of danger, the experience of sneaking a smoke with no one knowing was a small thrill. The fact it could kill me might have added another level.

After a while I admitted backsliding into the realm of cigarettes. She’s the only one who still smoked among my group. She gave me a ration of shit about it.

One day, she and I were at my house in the middle of the afternoon. I decide to have a smoke. Our conversation turned to the guilt I felt about hiding it from my husband. “This is my last pack,” I announced. While half-way through that smoke, my husband opened the back door where we sat.

Surprise!

No ranting, raving, scene-making for him. Nope. He said five words that hit me like a punch in the gut. “So, you’re lying to me.” Then, he left.

We can all speculate what he thought, felt, or what else he could have said. I call all irrelevant. Those five words will haunt me for life.

I quit that day. Of course, I started again in six weeks. But for right then, I quit.

 

Six weeks later…

I bought a pack at a convenience store.

I lit one, threw the rest away.

Bought another pack two days later. Told myself this would be my last pack. Put it in my purse.

About two days after that, I told my husband I’m a smoker. It didn’t go well. But, the gut-wrenching idea of lying to him again, for any reason whatsoever, made the admission necessary.

Fast-forward. After several heart-to-heart conversations, I offhandedly told him that this would be done by my birthday, which was about six weeks away.

I gravitate between, “What was I thinking?” and “I can do this,” for the next couple of weeks. My friends, with whom I’ve shared this dark patch of life, are supportive. My husband has stopped his sarcastic quips and he looks forward to the day I quit.

Being honest with myself, I’m not happy. About smoking. About having to quit.

My smoking friend and I have agreed to quit together. She’s trying one of the nicotine drugs to quit. I’m going cold turkey.

Again.

****

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

I Quit Smoking. Again.

 

Back in the year 2000, I quit smoking cigarettes. Cold Turkey. While the quitting was tough, I made it through to the other side. For thirteen years I went smoke-free. Then, I had a backsliding episode. If you’re a nicotine addict, you know of what I speak. Stressful times, weak moments, friends smoking around me, bumming a light.

After that episode, I beat it back again for several more years. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but for some reason, the cigarette demon is stronger than even the coke demon. Never will coke come into my life again. If nothing else, of that I am certain. But nicotine is different. It never surrenders. The battle wanes at times, but it is never over. I know I can beat the demon, but in the interim, it puts up one helluva fight.

There were some stressful times this last year. I backslid again. As you have gleaned, this is not a new fight. Let me share something I wrote a few years ago…

 

Demons of Addiction

 

We wrestle our own demons daily.

I have conquered a few.

A few I have tolerated.

Today, they snarl and move on.

 

Cocaine is a demon straight from hell.

It grabbed me and held me.

I fought it with everything.

I won, but its scars remain.

 

Alcohol is a fun demon that killed my folks.

We wrestle on occasion.

I respect her strength.

She laughs when she leaves me sick.

 

Cigarette Demon has held the longest.

But he comes seductively,

when I am weakest.

He’s gone, but warns he may come back.

 

There is a counter to this evil,

when I choose to call upon It.

He will hold a shield before me,

then the demons snarl and hiss,

 coil in fear, and move on…

 

© Original Copyright 2012 JL Mo. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 JL Mo. All rights reserved.

 

 

The demons of addiction are a very real experience. To those of you who have never suffered such affliction, I commend you. The ones who are here, who read this, and relate, you know your demons. Alcohol, tobacco, weed, coke, whatever name it takes. When we find ourselves weak and wrestling with the desire, we are looking right into the eyes of our demon. Should we remember our prayers (meditation, aura seeking, etc.) we can gain strength. But, in the midst of the fight, we might lose touch with that peace.

It makes no difference that people tell us they’ve gotten through this and it was no big deal. This is our personal demon. Personal Big Deal. We beg our loved ones to be patient with us. Be strong for us. We need your strength. You are our light to the other side (Thank you, Dart). To be tobacco-free is our guiding beacon.

Some former addicts are stronger and never allow weakness to show. It is an embarrassing debilitation for them. If that’s how they adapt, then all the better for them. I am not such an animal. My need for prayers and support is palpable.

My last cigarette was 10:25pm, October 25, 2017.

Thank you, my friends. With your support, I can do this. Again.

Please join in my prayer for Never Again.

 

****

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Me too

 

If you haven’t heard, there’s a new trend going around social media. Stemming from the Harvey Weinstein debacle, users of the various sites are prompted to type “Me too” or #Metoo into their statuses if they have ever been sexually abused/molested/attacked/manipulated/etc. The idea is to acknowledge the community of victims. To no longer hide in shame. And mostly, to support one another.

I would love to say I’ve never been sexually assaulted, but that would be a lie. The first time memory serves would have been around the age of seven. From a “friend” of an uncle. The next time around the age of twelve. From a man my alcoholic parents trusted. John Beard of West Palm Beach, circa 1973. He hired me to babysit his kids (how cliché can it get?). He and his girlfriend seduced my twelve-year-old self with manipulative compassion about my home life. After securing my trust, the fondling began. Which led to the inevitable. Then, they invited their friends to use me as well. For the next few years, it became my freefall into a childhood robbed of innocence, convinced that I was a full grown, sexy woman at the age of thirteen. That abuse messed up my life for the next thirty years, although I didn’t realize that the exploitation carried over into so many aspects of my fucked-up life.

Live. Learn.

Still, there are worse stories. Much worse. We all know the Catholic Church abetted and sheltered abusive priests. Those victims carried the pain into their adult lives with shame, along with an inability to foster trust again. In other places, there were children chained like dogs, whose lives knew nothing but abuse in every form. Then there are those victims who are forced to watch as their loved ones are abused, and can say nothing for fear the abuser might kill. Yes, there are much worse stories than mine. Does that limit the impact of abuse on my life? No. But those tales did help to keep mine in relative perspective.

Everyone has a story to tell. The people I’ve shared my story with have opened up and shared theirs with me. Sexual abuse, in all of its forms, has touched the lives of too many people. When the abuser is in a position of authority in the victim’s life, that power looms ominously over every action. Nothing the victim does is without the taint of fear. Abuse of power is evil incarnate.

Some have never had the opportunity to unburden their souls. Typing two words in a status update might have been the first time some of these victims have acknowledged their plight. You might wonder what good can come out of allowing the world to know you’ve been victimized. Do you skim by the latest Me too post with an eye roll? Folks jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak. I would like to challenge you to reach out to the ones you know who have posted, to see if you can be of some help. Let the person talk about it. Be a listening ear.

No? I get it. You’ll send thoughts and prayers instead.

After your thoughtful prayers, how about we drop our squeamishness over talking about sex? Predators love the dark. Each time we shut down any conversation we find uncomfortable, the abusers hiding in the shadows win, their victims trapped in the darkness of social construct.

My advice for the victims; go talk to someone you trust about the pain you have lived with for too long. Shame and fear keep us in the dark. And alone. That fear was evicted from my life many, many years ago. There is no anxiety or hesitancy for me to speak about sex with others. This post should prove that. But then there are the idiots who denigrate the conversation to a, “That’s what she said.” mentality. Those are the types of people victims are also hiding from. The insensitive, moronic clods who try to cover their own discomfort by making others squirm. Well, we’ve squirmed enough, thank you very much.

If you do not have someone in your life you trust to that extent, there is an organization called RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) waiting for your call. They can help steer you back to yourself. If you typed the phrase, and you don’t know what to do next, click the link, check it out, and then call.

My advice for the others; allow victims to know that you do not judge them for what they suffered. That first step is monumental to moving forward. Look at those who’ve typed those two words. If they are truly friends of yours, and you found that post surprising, text them. Call them. Make a date. Open a dialog for them to unburden the brutality they suffered. For their sakes, please, help them.

Typing Me too exposes ourselves as victims. But it’s not enough. Do you know what can be done to prevent sexual abuse? Nothing. As long as mankind is on this earth, abuse will continue. Let’s stop sheltering these fiends in darkness. Shine a light of love and understanding, and allow the victims freedom from the shackles the abuser put them in. Literally and figuratively.

 

****

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Dying Since Birth

 

 

“…one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”

― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

 

 

In the last few weeks I’ve been contemplating life. This mental wandering is not new territory for me. Car accidents. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A few times doctors have told me that I had to have this surgery, or that surgery, in order to continue living. Each time the death threat was years down the line. Each time I opted for the surgery. If pressed, I couldn’t say why. Life had never been so fantastic that I would fear losing it. Never one to contemplate suicide, mind you. Crashing God’s party without an invite just seems rude.

Still, the first part of my life did leave a lot to be desired. The third of five children in a lower-income family, it was my first duty to take care of the younger sibs. My mother and step-father were alcoholics, so physical and mental abuse were daily occurrences for all five of us. But I didn’t realize that until hindsight allowed.

This is not a unique story. Many other people have walked this path, and worse. Some came out better, some not so much. Some learn. Some didn’t.

For me, college was not an option, so I went for the next available way out. My first husband. He, too, had issues that inevitably crashed into mine. The fall out of the divorce seventeen years later was my first, true moment of introspection. Up to that point the days traveled past and took me with them. Childhood. Marriage. Two sons. Divorce. All happened without my thinking much in advance. I took comfort in the belief that this is the path the Lord laid out for me.

In the last few weeks I’ve been thinking way too much about all of this. The lump in my right breast became a signpost to reflection. The thing is, after all of the turmoil of my younger years, happiness is now my constant companion. There was a time I embraced life with a Pollyanna “it’ll get better” attitude, but now the joy is tangible. Life has gotten better. My second husband is a man who accepts me for all of my faults and all of the baggage that is me, and still loves me unconditionally. Four young grandchildren come to visit and share their unbridled, innocent joy. This is my life now. These are my reasons for living.

Once upon a time, I told my family if cancer was ever the diagnosis, I’ll let it take me. A lot has changed since then. Today, I cherish every breath allowed. I firmly believe in the spiritual realm, and somewhat look forward to joining it. This life is temporary. Our bodies merely suitcases to hold the soul as it passes the days until life comes to its end. Good, bad, or indifferent. But now, my life is a dream come true. The lump threatened to take it all away. Yes, we are all born astride the grave, dying since birth as it were. From the moment of our first breath, there is a date of death we are hurdling toward. But, I found myself praying that the date might still be years away.

After weeks of waiting, the call came. The screen read “Women’s Center for Radiology.” For a moment I hesitated. Perhaps hearing it in voicemail would make it easier to bear. Then I realized this call did not come from my doctor, as I was told it would, but from the Center. I snatched the phone up and answered. At first, the woman on the other end sounded distracted, which fueled my fear. Then, her voice smiled. (If you don’t know what that means, there is no other way to explain it.) She gave me the blessed news that the lump is benign. I tried not to cry from relief until after I ended the call.

The good Lord has seen fit to grant me another extension on life. Think I’ll throw a “Life is Good” party this weekend. My husband won’t mind.

 

 

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JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

Life. One Short Story at a time.