The List

K is in  pain, short of breath, and easily fatigued. Nevertheless, she has a 21st Century to-do list that only grows.  Every entry is urgent, for obvious reasons. But is every entry important? That's in the eye of the beholder.

Due to her's limitations, The List progresses slowly, and it draws us all in. I help. E helps. Sometimes we can help but don't want to. Sometimes we want to but can't. We fall in and out of synch with The List's demands, just as we would in Normal Life. But  this is not normal life, this is Cancer Life, and in Cancer Life, every success or (more often) failure carries an exaggerated emotional load: satisfaction, guilt, frustration, fear, regret.

Because The List feeds on our life force,  E and I are constantly second guessing it's contents. Why this hinge oiling? Why that gift giving? Why is The List so precise in its expectations? Particularly, why does The List demand so much from Karen, when she has so little to give? Couldn't we just burn it?

I question The List silently, because I have learned that nothing good comes from challenging it. My own list is jealous of The List, and I am learning to manage that relationship. E is a teenager. All lists are anathema  to his way of life. He knows that he should give in to The List, because this is Cancer Life, but sometimes he shows his frustration, which leads to recrimination, and presumably guilt.

The List and its consequences dominate our days, which is not entirely bad. Other interactions manage to sneak into the gaps, or ride along on the back List items. We watch an old movie together, snug on the couch, enjoying family time. No less enjoyable just because it is Listed.  We sneak out for Sunday Starbucks breakfast, just me me K, because The List takes Sunday morning off.  We watch Chelsea on TiVo because The List has already sucked all the energy out of her.

I admit it, I am a list-driven person myself. I am Getting Things Done with my 7 Habits whenever I can. I have come to understand how to purge the unimportant weeds from my list. I've learned to put resting and living on my list. I know that my list will always be growing. That's a fact of life. Of life.

I imagine that a different conscious or subconscious logic drives K's list. How could she die when there is so much shit on The List still needing to be done?

Long Live The List!


Jeff's Rule #1