Thursday, January 23, 2014

EVENTUALLY EVERYONE SUFFERS

Life is great, even the bad times because they emphasize for us the good times. I want to get that straight out, front forward. Sometimes we go years with very little problem. The love life is intact, the children are succeeding and behaving well, the money is fine even if not excellent. We experience little more than cuts and scratches, headaches, a cold. We don't know it, no reason to think otherwise, but eventually everyone suffers. But we can't spend the good days worrying about when they might end. 

My good days have had a downward swing. Three months ago I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. It's incurable. It can be eradicated and ended for a while, but it comes back, sometimes with a vengeance. I'm being taken care of by one of the best cancer centers and two of the best oncologists and it appears they're really handling it with two types of chemotherapy drugs, anit-nausea drugs, and targeted radiation treatments. I have met a woman who had this and only now, ten years later, has it returned. I heard of another with it who didn't see it return for twenty-five years. I could be one of those who get that lucky. I sincerely hope for it.

I am not morose and wish for no pity. We're all human and some of us suffer disabilities or diseases or suffer in so many ways that has nothing at all to do with things like the Big C. I believe in being positive because it beats being negative every day of the year. I'm not even actually suffering so much at this point. I've lost my hair, big whoopee. I'm rocking the headgear and having fun with it. I've no problem with nausea or being able to eat, so that's excellent. If I do suffer later on, that's just part of living, and as I said, we all suffer to some extent or another. I am not a rare bird. I am just an ordinary person, the same as you. We're in this together, this Life Thing.

I've been called brave and courageous, but I don't see myself that way. The courageous is the college girl in my chemo session who I hope beats her cancer and lives a long life, that's who is courageous. Or the young man in his thirties with a wife and children, trying to hang on, a good family man. He's brave. I face all things logically as I can and when I give into emotion I go ahead and do it quick and fast, get the crying over and move on. Life--what I'm really talking about here--is too short and too unpredictable to spend it crying and crawling into the dark cave of hollow, dreadful emotional states of being.

Look, we're all incurable. Life winds down, sometimes early, sometimes we get a full measure of years. I'm no spring chicken and I've reached so many of the goals I set for myself. I've spent my life writing and it's the second love of my life (my husband and children will always be first). I was given that gift and I'm so grateful. I have been married for many decades to a man who has always adored me, though I often think I never deserved such devotion. I have two extremely wonderful and good daughters and eight superlative grandchildren, and now I even have a young baby great-grandson. To celebrate him I named a lead character in my new novel for him, Caleb. I'm not saying I'm done, not by a long shot. I wrote a complete suspense novel and a book-length collection of new short stories last year. I was burning up the keyboard. I have more in me. I'm at the prime of my creative life. I hope to have time to give the world some more of the stories I have waiting in the Muse's queue.

I wanted to make this an open letter of love to all humankind and especially to my family and friends, my editors and agents over the past thirty years of writing, my colleagues, and I wanted to say I'm not afraid. I think I might have more time, maybe more than I think in my brightest moments of hope, and that would be swell. If I don't then, that's how it is, too, I accept it. I'm strong, always have been. I went after what I wanted, I worked hard, I taught myself, I studied, I wrote and I enjoyed the writing, being in the zone, bringing forth something new no one else on earth could create--only me. I really gave it my best and my rewards were good. I received some acclaim from the writing community in award nominations that pleased me so much. I sold books to New York publishers, every book I ever wrote (except for the very first one--we won't talk about that one). I was with the best literary agency in the world, The William Morris Agency. I had two superior agents. I'm with a grand publisher now, Post Mortem Press, and I have my new novel, THE GRAY MATTER, due to be published from them in April-May this year. I'm so looking forward to that and a couple of good colleagues read it, Ed Gorman and Mort Castle, and gave me the most lovely blurbs for it. I'm proud of it. I was inspired and I'm proud of it.

I have plans, lots of plans. I'm not a quitter, boy howdy that was never in my personality. Like all people, I've overcome bad times. A less than happy childhood, to say the least. The death of my young two year old son when I was just a young mother of twenty-four. I can endure, as we all can though we don't know we're that strong until we're tested. So, again, the testing has returned and I'm ready for it. I hope to write on my blog here for many years to come. I hope to write more novels and many short stories. I hope to spend more time with my family and my friends, so many wonderful friends with such heartfelt love for me. Again, probably more than I deserve. 

I've always been fair and honest. I saw no reason not to write this blog and let people know, who care to read it, that I'm in a big battle for my life and the future, however long it might be. We all suffer eventually. We don't get out alive. We're all incurable. I just happen to be a writer and a small public figure who talks about it in public. It's not a bad thing to be reminded suffering is part of living. It's just a small part of it. If I had any wisdom to impart, and I have little, I'd say to really find glory in your good days, in your safe, happy, non-suffering days. Be grateful for even the smallest life offers. The sunrises and sunsets, the smiles of babies, the hug from someone you love, cuddling under covers, eating that wonderful dish you love the most, holding and soothing your beloved pet, relish any fine and lovely thing the world offers you. 

I'm doing that now, more than ever before, though I was usually always cognizant of my surroundings and my feelings. But now I notice more little things, I smile more at what I might have let go unnoticed before, I feel more devotion to those I love, and I feel more loyalty to the friends I have connected with in my life. I appreciate all things good--a banana, a coffee, a breeze, the comfort of heat on a cold day, the smile of my good husband, the feel of a fine car with a loud Bose music system. I love all things good and stay away from the bad as much as I can, away from bad feelings or too much anger or too much self-involvement where I might concentrate on a body under siege. 

I love life. I know you do too. How can we not? Even though we know, being human, we'll face problems, possibly suffering, and what we can do about that is not too much under our control. We merely have the choice about how we are going to deal with this life given us. Are we going to look, listen, train our hearts to be positive and true and good or are we going to cause pain, diss others, break heads and hearts, do damage? That's the choice. You have one life. Please live it as well as you know how and then when the end does come, you'll have no regrets, you'll have lived a life well-done. Do that and above all things, even above writing the best fiction in the world, you would have created that most precious thing of all--a life with purpose that you were here to accomplish, the one life you have all the control over to make it valuable and worthwhile having lived at all.

7 comments:

  1. Beautiful and wise words from a beautiful and wise soul. You are an inspiration to me Billie Sue and I hope that the rest of your journey will be a good one. Can't wait to read your new book too. Thanks for sharing. Best, Will :)

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  2. This is beautiful and inspiring, Billie. So many people can benefit from it. I fought a very public battle with cancer, myself, in 1999-2000, and the support of friends, readers and fans were as important to me as the doctors. They let me use the "cure" word now, but I'm acutely aware that cured of one cancer doesn't make me immune for others or from other diseases. These things have a way of sharpening our vision. I look forward to many more works from you.

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  3. Thank you very much, William Cook and Robin Bailey. I believe I too get the most support and uplifting of love from my friends and family, of course, than any other place. The doctors are trying to save my life, so I'm grateful to them. My friends and family know I'm one of them. We're always in this together.

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  4. Billie Sue:
    You expressed how I've felt through every health crisis: from thyroid cancer to extremely high BP.
    I remember this line: "Never give up. Never surrender" from Galaxy Quest
    And understanding that you are not alone is a great help.
    Blessings,
    Mitzi

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  5. I love you, Billie Sue Mosiman. It's really odd how our paths have crossed and connected over the past 30+ years...first in Texas, then Florida and Alabama and now here we both are--returned to Texas. Traveling, moving and always writing. It's a good life. Even the bad times are good because we discover our strengths and coping skills are matchless beyond anything we could imagine. You have always had a wired kind of moxie. Girl! You still do! Hugs.

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