A Short Good Life

Let Go the Day

Time to say goodbye to this day, May 20, 1996, Day 150 since the bone marrow transplant—PUVA treatment number fourteen. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good day. Getting to and from the hospital went smoothly, and you made great progress with your K’nex building project with Mommy. And with each day that passes, we get a little closer to the light at the end of the tunnel:

the end of the rash, the end of having to take steroids, and the return to normal activities with full energy. It may not always feel that way, but just like now with each day we are getting closer to summer and further from winter, so each day we are getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Time for some deep breathing. Slow, deep breath in. Slowly blow it out. Deep breath in. Then blow it out with a big sigh. That’s a great sigh. One to rattle the cups in the pantry. That rattling must have startled Mommy and Nanny downstairs! Feel the muscles of your chest and tummy and throat, the muscles all over your body, moving with each breath in and with each breath out. And with each breath in, hold on to the best of this day, together at home.

You picked out some delicious mangoes on the way back here. Yes, and after your great long shower, Mommy combed your hair. And the laughs we had when those I shall not name were passing gas and everybody was saying, “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” all at the same time. And with each breath out, as best you can, let go the worries and frustrations of the day.

Worries about trying to stop scratching the itchy spots so hard. Frustration at having to take so many medicines and at having to be so careful about germs. All the worries about getting well. With each breath out, let them go.

Imagine a warm shower like the one you had today. The water rolling over your skin. Taking the itchies and hurties away. And the soothing sound of the water spraying all over you, helping you relax and get sleepy.

Imagine a rainbow parachute gently floating you down to the ground through the cloudless sky so clear and blue. And as you float so softly and gently down to the softest of landings, your eyelids get heavy and they close. All your muscles get soft and relaxed. And your mind fills with the deep, clear blue of the sky. And now let that blue get darker and gradually darker, turning into your favorite midnight navy blue.

The night sky fills with cloud shapes rolling by. There’s a cloud the shape of a doggy like Toto. There’s a cloud the shape of a trumpeter swan like Louis. There’s one the shape of the Cowardly Lion. And one the shape of a Woozy. And one the shape of a great big cow. And just behind that cow-shaped cloud is the first star of the night. On it, we can make any wish we want. I know what I wish for: for your return to full strength and health immediately.

Feel the gentle breeze become stronger. In the strong wind, the leaves of tall trees rustle and the branches sway. The clouds move swiftly across the sky. And more and more handfuls of stars come out. Soon all the clouds have blown away. And the dark, blue-black sky is filled with a zillion stars sparkling, like a magical blanket covered with sparkles. 

Looking up at that sky, we feel tiny. And yet also connected. The whole universe is one fabric. Every part connected. Every animal, fish, and bird, with every plant, flower, and tree, with every cloud, every star, every puff of wind. And with every girl and boy, man and woman, all connected.

Over the horizon rises a huge, orange, oval-shaped moon. And as it rises, it gradually changes shape to become a perfect circle. And it gradually changes color, becoming golden, and then yellow, paler and paler yellow, and at last at the top of the sky, it becomes the brightest, whitest light we’ve ever seen. Shining down on us. We drink it in. And take from it strength and courage, hope and love. It reminds us of the light at the end of the tunnel. Like the wind that blows across our skin and then passes away. Like the clouds that covered the sky and then blew away and disappeared. So this day has gone, and we let it go. Now to rest and be ready for the new day.

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