Monday, 2 February 2009

Role Model

When I first announced being sick, someone on my Yahoo dog list posted this as part of her signature:
  • I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Gilda Radner said that. And I found it very supportive of the way I felt. I would have gone on to read her book, except I'm still into happy endings.

But I read snippets about her here and there and came across this, from her husband, Gene Wilder. Wilder said that, toward the end, when Radner was confined to the hospital, she'd walk around and introduce herself to the other patients. "Hi," she'd say, holding out her hand, "I used to be Gilda Radner."

I thought that was so her and so funny and it stuck in my head for a long time. Then one day, it came to me that it wasn't funny at all; it was devastating. Her identity had been subsumed into her cancer. She was no longer a person; she was a disease.

Now, I don't know how I'll feel if the worst comes to worst. (Remember, we're still on happy endings here, but we must keep these things in mind). Maybe I'll be in the hospital and introduce myself to my fellow patients as "the former Ms. Milner" or even "the former Mme. Bentley.

But so far I don't feel like that. So far, I feel like me, who's got this condition, and am being treated for it. (And the treatment is much better than it was 10 years ago.) And I am neither brave nor strong or anything else I wasn't Before.


  1. It ain't over 'til it's over, Madame, and, if you think like I do, over is just the beginning. Yes, happy endings. Please, God.

    Doobie - no role model here

  2. You are adept at finding the apt. (Is that too alliterative?) Yes, Over is a New Beginning. Thank you.

  3. No matter what, you will always be you. Cancer is what you have, not who you are.

  4. "Cancer is what you have, not who you are."

    I like this.

  5. Hoping this isn't too morbid with references to endings but I think that, no matter how much they have, how long they live, how much they've done and how many people they know, anyone can have a 'sad ending' if they don't take the positives from life. Keep believing in happy endings and do your utmost to make them happen and they will.

  6. I like that, Pandy. Thank you. (You are now Pandy, although I really think that The Goddess Pandemonia is more apt to someone else in your life.)