Tuesday, May 5, 2009

going on, saying goodbye, and living life: 77 more.

In case you’ve been away or just joining, I went down to the US and I went to this specialist hospital and at the end of it, everyone distracted me for a while because it took a while for what they told me to sink in. They told me that I’m dying, and that they don’t know why. They can tell me what is destroyed, and they can tell me that it shouldn’t even be possible; my mind and my body both being smashed up from the insides. What could do that? No one knew.

I was sitting there in my wheelchair and they were telling me that they were specialists but they had never seen it all together like that. That I was alone. Dying, and just me. So I went home.

I decided that I was going to do a 10K race the next week since I had a racing wheelchair. But the weekend was my usual postcard time. But I NEEDED to do postcards. I needed to know that I was not alone, that by sending out those postcards, I was maybe not making a big different, but I was doing something, in a situation where regarding my own life I could do nothing. So I worked during the week, alone. I stamped each postcard, I put stickers on each one, and I wrote on each postcard. I tried for more but ended up getting 42 done. A good number.
I used a lot of postcards that were my favorites. Postcards I had held on to for over a year Linda said in some cases. I wanted to make sure the right person got them. I wanted to say goodbye in a good way to them. The wreck of the ship on the beach, the wooden paddle boat in Australia, the place of green and peace.

Of course, there were the playful cards, the ones to give a bit of a tingle to those who get them. There were some boy/boy yaoi and girl/girl yuri and some boy/girl bad boy sexuality as well as a ballroom dance.

Some of the cards were specials, meaning there was metal in them to make them shine, so they had a bit of glitter. Some were from rare and out of print artists calendars, others textured cards about the Louis the XIV period, postcards for the right people, I hoped. I wanted them to know, because I did not expect to finish the race, or finish it in good health that before I went, that I was thinking about them. That they mattered first.

Yes, maybe I was thinking about me, about what living means, and about what it means to try, to be sent home to die because no one knows what to do. About being alone. There is no support group for me.And maybe in these postcard names there are people with no support group either.

In the last few weeks, I have been notified of the deaths of several people on the list, friends I never met, friends who I will never know what meaning my actions had. I cared about them and through their emails it seemed we got to know each other and yet…..I will never know. Today I received notification that another person I cared about was dead. There is something horrible about having a list where every few pages there is a line through because someone is dead (18 pages of names on address labels). How can I not cry.

The questions haunt me: “Did I do enough?”, “Did I send enough?”, “Did they know that they were loved?” I don’t know.

This last weekend, I was very, very sick and am still, and so I could only do another (it was supposed to be the bare minimum of 18 but I snuck a few more in when Linda and Cheryl weren’t looking) 35 cards. So 77 cards over two weeks. It is a start, yes.

My life now is much like being out on that race, which I did finish, and came in second for the women. When you are on a hill, you either keep going or you have to fall over to quit, because there are no brakes to hold you. There are no brakes, I either go on, or not. There was one card I wanted to say goodbye to specially, I had held it for a long time and I wanted to make sure it ended up in the right hands. And if I died, I didn’t want people to just think it was ‘another postcard’. To me, and I hope to the person who received it, it was special (due to building management I cannot have a cat, no matter how badly I want one, no kitten, not even if we pay for all damage - this postcard is as close as I will get).

The postcard project is over 2,000 postcards now and I am still sending them out, I am still taking names. The promise remains: as long as I live you will know that I care, and that I am sending something to you when I can. How long that is will be how long that is. I go forward because there is no where else to go. I am resting but I am matching postcards, I am looking forward, not back. I will work to make sure that no more names come in who I have to ask myself if they knew they were cared about; who knew that life is more than just scammers and people who don’t care. I care because you are a person worth caring about.