By Lucinda Bunn
About four years ago, I had a dream. In it, I was led to believe I was going to die at age 64. Well, I just turned 64 less than two weeks ago, so, so far, so good.
At the time of the dream, I had just gotten the results of what was to be one in a series of every ten years colonoscopy screenings. In the report next to my name appeared the words “precancerous” and “we like your colon so much, we want to see it again in three years.” While my colon was flattered, the rest of me went into high alert. The anxiety control tower raised the threat level from “well managed” to “WT hell did they just say to me?!?” Don’t get me wrong, my colon wants attention as much as the rest of me. But I did take some time to process this information. “Could this be literal? Will I learn at the follow up screening that the big C is going to be the hook that takes me off the stage for good?” I had already done that cancer dance in my early forties with my breasts, after which, I tore up my dance card and crossed my fingers.
The good news is that the follow up screening last summer said all is well.
Still, since having just turned 64, I am mindful of my life. Curious. About the year that lies ahead. I am determined to live it as though it is my last.
I began to write my memoir of overcoming at age 58. Really, it began to write itself, insisting that I have a part in it. And as someone who strives to live in alignment with the will of my maker for me, I do my best to comply.
Days after my birthday, I met with my new writing coach. She is number four in the line of professionals I have sought guidance from and much like any series of relationships, where each one brings different gifts to the different me, I feel good about this one. She gets me.
It has been a bumpy road, this writing journey. Like life, it has been messy, revealing, devastating, enlightening, empowering, joyful, rewarding, leveling, estimable. It has also been informative. If you have ever written in a journal, a diary or penned your story, you know this experience. The one where mere words taking shape reveal things that ask to be seen and heard.
My fervent hope and prayer is that with my coach’s guidance, and me living to tell it, my story will be completed, and submitted to the publishing world for what I hope is a long line of suitors, all wanting to be at the top of this dance card.
Do I hope for prosperity? You bet your ass. But greater than this, it is my desire to offer my experience, strength, hope and survival guide to those who will face things I have and lived to tell about, knowing that they aren’t alone and that cancer and addiction and divorce and trauma and mental health issues can not only be survived, real true happy life can happen. Healing can happen. Contentment and joy can happen. Connections that matter can happen. Value and self-worth can happen. Self-love can become a staple in the pantry.
I sense in my bones that the generations before me who left some of their legacy of unhealed parts to me, may rest easier wherever they are now for it. I know that my 26 year old daughter Abby, with a soul older than mine, will have a legacy to make sense of some things as she walks through her life after I leave this one.
I am brave to sit with my story. And I am up to the challenge because for everything in it, I have been and will always be doing the work to heal and uncover that beautiful me that has always been there. The me that has been shrouded by 60 years of others and the worlds ideas of who I am supposed to be. The little Lucinda, who at age five, to comfort herself when she feared the darkness, climbed out of bed, found the magenta crayon and perched her freckled face and toe headed stringy hair in front of her favorite canvas. That pale pink metal nightlight. The one with the white dome moon light in the center, surrounded by a bright and perfect circle of cutout stars. Who knew I was always an artist? Crayons make pretty colors when pressed against the moon.
As for my dream, I suspect that was about dying to my old self. Nietzsche said, “A snake that does not shed its skin, dies.” But just to be safe, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.