After I was diagnosed with MS, everyone kept asking me what was on the bucket list for me, what I needed to do sooner rather than later. . .
And I had no answers. I’ve never really kept one. I had a few things – I wanted to dance at Nephew the eldest’s wedding, hold his child. I wanted to be well enough to care for the next set of babies.
For all my planning, I’m not a bucket list sort of person. I’m an experience, live with those who love me, care for those around me sort of person. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, experiences and travel, big plans and small events with those you care for. It’s just that I don’t think about the big things much. They happen or they don’t. There’s so little you can actually do – you can plan and save and hope, but it can all fall apart. Hold on to the now. That’s mostly safe.
I’m not in Edmonton this morning, and I’m thankful. Winnipeg is not my city. I don’t much like it here. I have no real idea why, but for today at least – I’m glad to be here all the same.
You see, I had a bucket list in 2007. I had a list and it involved a little boy. And this morning, on this first day of school, I was going to take his photo on the front porch of the house I still live in. I was going to walk him across the street, our street, into the school he had looked at out of his bedroom window. I was going to drop him off in a first grade class room, with his backpack and his lunch.
There are secret anniversaries in grief. Days, moments, that pass that are so intimate that you never share them with another person. I remember not just the day I first felt him move in me, but the day I first wore maternity clothes.
Then the anniversaries of my hopes and dreams – the days I thought would come to pass. The Christmases of my dreams that will never be the Christmases of my memory. Days that do not mark a thing that happened, but a thing that you thought might happen. The days that mark what was on your bucket list back then.
Still, you grieve those days – the bucket list that never was. You will grieve them every day of your life. And in the hurt, you hold out your hands when someone asks you what your bucket list is after MS – as the ground shifts under you again.
And you think – now. My bucket list is holding on to what I have now. Because what I thought I once had still hurts.