I went on COBRA last week because I no longer get my health insurance through my employer. I read all the paper work carefully and submitted it, but I didn’t pay the premium because I thought I had time. Big mistake.
My daughter called.
“Why is there no coverage?”
She was at the pharmacy. I went into a mild panic. I couldn’t put two sentences together. I was short of breath for a few minutes, My hands were clammy. I was alone at the time and thought how would I get my magic pill? I can’t afford to pay for it. I gathered myself and made more calls and got it all straightened out. I sat back and made some tea. I felt exhausted. Once again everything had been taken care of for me, but the guilt remained.
I hadn’t felt guilty for a long time. Guilty that I’m in this situation. That I’ve compromised my family financially. That I’ve caused them to worry. You wouldn’t imagine that this is an emotion that frequents me, but it does. I also know there is a close connect between guilt and ego – it being the other side of pride, but this, too, I can’t untangle.
Emotions visit me, uninvited, whether I like them or not. They can be welcome guests. Happiness and gratitude…come on in! Or they can be loathsome characters. Fear and guilt there’s the door! I suppose being human is a kind of endurance test in which we persevere despite our emotional life which is untrustworthy, but influential, when defining ourselves.
That night Dee came home. I made breakfast for dinner. Dee stabbed at her eggs. I lifted a pancake into my mouth and after we were done we started the dreaded project of cleaning out an old closet. It was full of photos, stationary items, kid’s arts projects, trophies. I get tasks done at home, but this is the type of undertaking you can’t do alone after 26 years of marriage.
We kept some items. We threw away most of it. We laughed a lot. My favorite discovery was a photo of the kids in front of our Plymouth Voyager, circa 2001, that was missing a hub cap. I think we were on our way camping. We had seven minivans at various times. One I got free from a junk yard that the kids said “we could hear it before we could see it.”
I looked at the photo and imagined what people thought when they saw us pulling up to their driveway years ago, “oh no it’s the Daly’s!“ Still, we’d all pile out for a visit and like emotions, I suppose, we were wanted or unwanted.
I’ve found that the best cure when feeling blue, or upset, or stressed is to do something for someone else as quickly as possible. I had a friend in Santa Barbara and he told me that every time he felt insecure about money he’d take someone out to lunch.
I know I’m not my cancer, but I’m happy to be linked to it in a way. I like that people call me or message me or text me. They tell me about themselves. They even tell me they have cancer, and I like that I can offer something other than those negative emotions that wait just around the corner.