t-shirt to celebrate.
Randin and I love the movie Galaxy Quest (IMDB, Netflix, Amazon). Its catch phrase "Never give up! Never surrender" has been on my mind since aunt Margie died. I like it when they say it, and yet I don't like it when I try to apply it.
Margie asked me if I thought she was giving up because she decided against the chemotherapy that might have prolonged her life another month. I said, "Hell no! Had I understood what I would endure, I wonder if I would have agreed to it. And that's with the hope of a cure at the end of the tunnel, not just one more month of living!"
Here's the deal with being a cancer patient: your experience is almost always framed as winning a battle. I'm telling you, this kind of language is not helpful—to have a winner you have to have a looser and so many equate dying with loosing, and living with winning. Is dying gracefully loosing? Is living miserably, at any cost, winning? Life is a game, I'll give you that, but the board is far more complicated than start and finish. We all die, so the finish line always death. That doesn't equal anything, death is simply a word for the unknown.
Somewhere I learned the adage, "It's not whether you win or loose, but how you play the game that counts." and I must really believe it. The outcome (living/dying, winning/losing) is irrelevant if the quality of your playing is what you value. When I'm dead, as far as I know there's no longer anything to worry about, and while I'm alive, I'm not dead so there's nothing to worry about. With nothing to worry about, what do I do with all my spare time?
Apparently, I use my spare time to think about "Never give up! Never surrender!"
Back in the summer 2009, when the game was beyond weird and I was playing as 0-20% Brandi, and it looked like I might loose, I tried to give up. I didn't try very hard mind you, but I did beg for the game to be over, or for the rules to change, or for a different game. I waited, and waited, and nothing; the game was still on and I was coming off as a poor sport. Eventually, I surrendered the notion of giving up, accepted the game I was playing, adapted my moves to compliment the energy and strength available to me.
Aha: "Never give up! Always surrender!"
To surrender is to accept what is, to not give up is to act in alignment with it.