Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 2

For the first time in 20 years, I woke up on a Monday without the annoyance of an alarm clock. Instead, I was awakened to the beautiful music provided by two birds in my backyard. I don't know if it was a love song or simply birds doing what they do, but it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.

I am sure I had heard birds singing many times before this morning. However, today was the first time I really listened. I don't know what they were singing about, or who they were singing to. It didn't really matter. What mattered is that for the first time in my life I took the time to listen.

I could have spent the day in bed listening. It reminded me of a poem I read in college by Maya Angelou, "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings." I read it and memorized it while taking one of my literature classes. I still can recite it today:

The free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wings in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with fearful trill
of the things unknown but longed for still
and is tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

I never truly understood its meaning until now. For so long, I have been the caged bird living the life that so many of us live. You bust your butt to get everything you want, only to have to bust your butt even more to keep it. It's a never-ending cycle that I am so glad to see end. I am now the caged bird set free to finally go live.

For the past year, I did everything I could to help prevent being told that I was going to die. I went to doctor after doctor, went through chemotherapy, had surgery to remove the tumor, and spent hour after hour reading up on different methods to beat the cancer. Yet, in the end, I saw six different doctors in the last two weeks who told me the same thing.

After hearing it again three days ago, I decided that was all I needed to give up trying to beat it. The last thing I want is my last days running from some treatment center to another and end up dying anyways.

If I am running from anything, it are these thoughts. I no longer want to think about what brought me to this point, or ask why me? There really is no good that can come out of dwelling on my sickness and ruining my last days. Besides, I really don't have time for it. I had so much to do today to sit in bed feeling sorry for myself.

This will be my last night in the house, after doing my last days worth of business I will ever have to do. I put my house on the market, sent an email to my employer that I would not be back, transferred my bank accounts into one, and packed the necessary items for life on the road. Aside from getting some new wheels in the morning, my business days are over.

I am sitting here in bed overwhelmed with excitement about leaving everything and everyone behind. I am not sure where I am going first, but I know that Los Angeles will be in the rear view mirror, never to be seen again.

Something tells me, though, that I know where I will end up tomorrow. A place that I can go to for first time without the feelings of guilt overcoming me.

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