Everybody pretty much knows how much I love my nook (Barnes and Noble’s book reader). And I do. But the last few months have been not full of disposable income so I have been forced into a renewed love affair with my library card.
The littles and I moved into a town roughly the square mileage of The Mall of America. I do like living in a small town. People wave, even strangers. The guy at the gas station saw me getting the empty grill propane tank out of the back of my van and sent someone out to help, exchange the tank and loaded it up. All before I even produced cash. The parks are exquisitely clean and safe. Our church pastor always has Tootsie Roll pops in his pockets for the kids. I like living here.
The one downside is that the library is about the size of my living room. And two-thirds of that are children’s books. And most of what’s left is large print. I wanted to support my local library but it was a constant source of frustration. I had to look elsewhere. I found out that the Big City library (all 9 branches!) would take us for a fee. The amount is not insignificant but we have made it worth every penny.
I have to say that having 9 library buildings at my disposal has made reading from an actual book fun again. I put the book(s) on my list and, usually within the week, it is held on a shelf for me and I pick it up. By my count, I have requested and reserved almost 70 books since October. In nook terms, that’s at least $500 worth of reading. A bargain by all standards. And, I didn’t have to look up, find and browse at all. Admittedly, that’s part of the fun but usually not fun at all when toting one or more littles. They are less than patient when I don’t know if J.D. Robb is in fiction or mystery. (Fiction.)
Since fat camp ended, I feel like I have a ton of time freed up. This isn’t to say that I haven’t been putting in the time. It’s just my time and not scheduled time. Okay, I’m probably one workout behind but so far, so good. I’m trying to embrace the lower intensities needed to burn fat calories and that’s mentally really hard. For one, I really need to work at not losing track of where I am in a heart rate sense. And, two, I don’t burn as many calories total. There for a while, I wouldn’t leave the building unless I got to 700 calories. Now, it’s a struggle to get past 500 before they make me come and get my littles from kid care.
Wait. This isn’t about the gym. That’s for another day.
What I meant to say is that I seem to have some time on my hands. And what better way to use it? You know, until the pool opens. I’ve been sticking my nose in books. An endless stream it would seem. I always have 5 or 6 lined up and waiting.
The point of this is that I picked up “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. Remember this guy. In the summer of 2008 (as I was still reeling) this Carnegie Mellon professor was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He was in his thirties, married with three children under 5. (Sounds vaguely familiar, yes?) He did a lecture that fall. “The Last Lecture.” What you want the world to know before you go. What would you tell people? How have you made an impact? Sum up your life.
This guy was a father. A teacher too but he wrote this lecture (which I think you can see on YouTube in its entirety) for his kids. These are all the things about their old man that he wouldn’t be around to tell them about. Sprinkled in between charming stories about how he fulfilled nearly all of his childhood dreams and fantasies are snippets of his life with cancer. His life and how he chose to live it and tackle it and absorb it.
If you haven’t read it, please finish it for me.
I got to the middle (it’s a short and sweet 207 pages) and had to stop.
I had to stop because I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take that this guy (and his wife) did it right. They fought and fought hard. They fought together. But they knew when they were licked and faced it head on. They told him that he would have 3 to 6 healthy months. He lasted a year or so. I like to think it was his attitude and the determination to make every day count.
Want to guess why I can’t go on? Why I can’t bear to finish, not right now? Because I feel like we attacked this thing all wrong.
We attacked it with fear, adrenaline and denial. The combination creates a fast flame that, obviously, dies quickly. We couldn’t maintain. He wanted to fight to the end. He wanted the girls to know, someday, that he did everything he could.
But what happened, from my perspective, is that what he chose to do to himself through the chemo/poison cocktails he wanted them to infuse into his cells…what he chose took away most of our good days.
At the time…it was the only thing in our arsenal. We never asked how much time he had with or without treatment. Not once. And I wasn’t allowed to research it. The one time I tried to look haunted me for several years. I think he bought himself some time but was it good time? That I don’t know. The end was the same. Obviously.
I say “he” and “him” here but I am just as much a part of this. I think I was very much in shock the entire time. Traumatized. I went out and right away got two different jobs. Part time. But it was time away that I regret very much.
I just don’t know. The outcome would not have changed and that’s the only thing I know for sure. But I feel like we could have gone about it a little better. This is a common feeling, I hear. When you are the caregiver and the person you care for passes. We are the ones left to think and analyze and wonder. We have all the time in the world.
It was a good book. And definitely worth reading. And maybe I’ll try again. You know, later. Later, later.
Until then, I’ll go back to mysteries, young adult paranormal romances, historical fiction and minor bestsellers written by former comedians. I can’t help myself.