life, death and a tiny dog


I’ve just had a cancer scare. Only that’s not quite right, because I wasn’t scared. I was actually rather hopeful that it might be true. I’m so sorry if you’re reading this and you or yours have had a cancer scare be true. I know my appetite for death is a bit left field. Especially as I’m not suicidal. I am not. Suicidal. I’m grateful beyond measure for my little life. I’m always saying thank you.

I have been argued with. All I can say is this, it’s the truest of my truths. And that since dropping into the paradox and the joke of it, my suffering has found a taproot into tenderness and nothing has been quite the same. I can’t tell you exactly how or when, though it is a relatively recent development. My first postcard on this blog is a nod to it. And now it’s like I’ve always known, except the narratives of my life would suggest otherwise!

I wish I had always known… that I can love life and long for death at the same time…

I wish I had known how to love life, but that’s the bit I needed more time to find my way to. On the other hand, I’ve always felt that pull to death. Even as a small child this was true. I wanted to go home. I still ache to slip out of this embodied, being human business, and back into the mystery. Now though, somehow, I am broken open and I have landed, more or less, into being a person in this world. The storms of hate have burned out and these days, the fierce days taste of cleaner, dryer fire. A burning desert rather than the tsunami that eats and violates everything.

And even though being in this world often feels like the wrong world and depression is its own world, I have found a place for myself in this wonderful, awful, heartbreaking, unforgiving, terrifying, ordinary and extraordinary, world. Thank you friends, dance floors, cats and dogs, songs, poems, kitchens, cakes, Leonard, the sea, the sky and the breath in my lungs, for helping me. Thank you body for not giving up on me and thank you life for the very same thing.

I’ve been listening to the old songs from Leonard’s first album these last few days. On the cover notes William David Sherman has written – In an otherwise casual conversation, Leonard Cohen once remarked: ‘At times I can taste the sweetness of death.’ I have always tasted the sweetness of death, and now I can taste the sweetness of life too.

While I was waiting to hear if the skin cancer I have is the spreading kind, the one thing that put a crack in my heart, was the possibility of having missed Leonard The Dog. Having had life returned to me, no matter if I want it or not, I stopped faffing about and went out to find Leonard. Dear reader, I found him. He’s coming home next Sunday. He’ll be eight weeks old.

And one last note. A lovely thing. Writing about this edgy thing, both here and on Facebook has helped me include it more easily. It just isn’t as edgy as it used to be. People who know me, know this about me now and it doesn’t have to stop a conversation or get anyone in a tis. I’m ever so touched by how glad people seem to be that I’m not terminally ill, and equally touched by how easily I’ve been able to include into those conversations, the part of me that felt disappointed about that.

pull up a chair...

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