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.
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.