I am honest, with myself and the people around m. I don’t lie. I simply don’t. The words that come out of my mouth and the words I write are true to the best of my ability. I don’t pretend to be something I am not. I don’t think I am always right. I can admit when I’ve been wrong.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes along the way with good choices and bad choices. Those choices all have consequences we have to live with. But it is hard for some people to take responsibility for all of the events that happen to them. It’s easier to think some piles of crap we have to wade through aren’t our fault; something else caused it or it was just the luck of the draw. People often can’t connect the dots. Sometimes it’s too far back to see it so they assumed it happened by itself with nothing to cause it.
A few days ago I had a texting conversation with my 19 yr old granddaughter who has been making careless choices that have severely affected her stability. She has burnt bridges while staying with people who allowed her to move in or asked too often for money while jumping from one boyfriend to the next. She’s young. She’s had a tough childhood. She’s been on her own her own for awhile making decisions but she doesn’t have the wisdom to know if she’s making good or bad decisions. The effects have buried her in deeper holes to get out of and she doesn’t know yet what she needs to do.
I love her dearly. She reminds me so much of myself at that age. Some of the careless choices we make when we are young affect us long after we have grown up but it’s too late now to go back and change them.
She said to me, “Nana, why do bad things happen to good people?”
Because being a good person has nothing to do with what is happening to you today. We can be a good person and still make bad choices. We are responsible for the things that happen to us. No one else makes them happen. Other people are worrying about the effects of their own choices. We cause our own mess. We bring the wrong people into our lives. We might not get the effect of that right away. The effect happens when it is supposed to, but by then we might not see the connection.
In the teen years it is easy to blame your parents or other people in your life for causing things to happen to you. It is hard to point at yourself first. Or pride steps in. “You were never there for me!” Why things happen to us is much deeper than what we did that day, that month or even that year. My hope is that she doesn’t make choices that can ruin her life.
Because of my own choices I made at her age, I am paying dearly for today. I had left home at 18 to go to college and screwed it up because I had a boyfriend who did drugs. The hard kind. I was always curious about everything. I wanted to find out what things were. It was a bad choice. I didn’t understand the word consequences. I was not taught about that. I believe it is one of the most important things to teach young people and it is only learned the hard way. But would I have listened if someone had tried? Probably not. I had to find out the hard way.
But I did stop, a long time ago. I felt fortunate that I did. My life was full. I had two kids. I was playing music. I played hard. I worked hard to take care of my children as a single mother. I thought I had it together. I didn’t realize until it was too late about consequences. It was too late to learn it.
I began to get sick in the mid 80’s. The doctors had no idea what was wrong. It could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia, until I found out I had Hepatitis C in 1998. I had never heard of it. The cause I had made between the years of 19-21 was going to affect me more than I could comprehend. I had no idea what was coming up.
I am a good person. I try to do the right thing. I learned a lot about myself through battling these consequences and I’ve tried to pass that wisdom I learned on to others. But none of that was going to change what was happening to me. I couldn’t fix that. I have had to fight hard to live and it has not been fun.
I will be 65 this month. Tonight I lay against pillows writing on my tablet. I came home from another surgery as I fight cancer – again. I had a liver transplant in 2012 because of the Hep C and liver cancer. I have had quite an assortment of infections and things gone wrong because my immune system is suppressed. My bad liver caused severe osteoporosis and I break easily. My back fractured, by itself and I fell on my arm and crushed it like a roll of Ritz crackers so I now have a titanium shoulder and upper arm and elbow wrapped in titanium with many screws holding it together. My spine and neck are compressing. I have arthritis in my left hip. I’m an accident waiting to happen.
I can’t fight cancer. I had a tiny spot on my ear. They cut out a piece of it. It came back . When it didn’t stop the entire top half of my ear was cut off. It looks like a dog ate it for lunch. I had radiation that permanently burned off the hair on the side of my head all the way up to the top. The cancer blew through that in ten days and now I had a swollen lymph node under my ear. The cancer went internal. Shit. I’m in trouble now.
My neck was sliced open from my hairline at the back of my neck behind the ear down to my collar bone across to the top of my sternum. Dozens of lymph nodes were removed, and nerves were damaged. There was a lot of bleeding that couldn’t be stopped. My jugular vein had to be sacrificed. I look like Frankenstein and someone sewed my head on.
Will this stop the cancer? Maybe. Probably not. This doctor didn’t lie to me and say, “I think we got it all this time, like the last doctor did – twice.
“We have to take it day by day,” she said. “Watch you closely and be ready to act. Your cancer is very aggressive.”
But I’ve been given more time to keep fighting. This is all I’ve had all along. Buying time. If I had a better immune system, maybe, but I don’t. Since the transplant in 2012 I’ve been buying time. It is just the facts.
Here is the bottom line. I still have much to do. I have made every day of my life count. I’ve been writing a book that I think is good. I’m trying to complete it and get it edited. It takes money. I’ve been writing music, pouring my heart and emotions into music, determined to help Jamie Cummings get on his feet after 13 years of letters. I have tried to teach him what I learned about life. The only legacy of value any of us leave behind when we die is the effect we have had on other people. Have we helped others become better people who the can teach their children and others who are important to them? I can’t leave this undone. I don’t have the luxury to take it slowly or waste my time. Time is precious. I spend it wisely.
If you’ve read previous posts you know these things about me. Some of you also follow my blog My Name Is Jamie where there are also chapters you can read. I’m almost done the second draft. I’ve been recording the music for it.
The past few months I’ve been trying to make money by opening an online store that is also connected to eBay and Facebook. It has been a tremendous amount of work – more than I thought it would be. It has cost money to learn what I need to learn. But I can’t pay an editor to work with me until I make money. I work at it every day – all day. On one aspect or another.
Can I be an example for Jamie and my granddaughter of what not to do? I have 6 other grandchildren. Will my life mean anything to them. Will they see a winner or just remember me in the past tense.
I need your help. I started a gofundme campaign. The link is at the bottom. There are a couple updates. If anyone can help. That is great. Would it be for a good cause? Even a couple dollars would help a lot. I will name all of you at the end of the book. I will give away ebooks or a book to hold for $15 or $25. Even just sharing it would help. It’s hard getting it out into the universe to people.
Now I must rest.