Nobody Told Me

Nobody told me that my cars keys would develop a life of their own and take off exactly when I need them.

Nobody told me that putting an electric mattress pad on my bed—running all those cords underneath--and changing the sheets could turn into a real workout.

Nobody told me that to be able to drive to an unfamiliar destination at night would require a reconnaissance excursion in daylight.

Nobody told me that in spite of having gained only five pounds since college graduation, my navel would disappear into a tummy I am only just getting used to.

Nobody told me that a text from one of my adult grandchildren would set me up for the day. Nobody told me I would learn how to text!

Nobody told me that an hour of concentrated exercising would put me on the couch for the afternoon: that pacing myself would become an imperative.

Nobody told me that watching friends become increasingly infirm and die would be like watching the leaves fall from the trees in autumn, generating in my heart an existential sadness interspersed with sudden stabs of grief.

Nobody told me that the ending years of my life would be spent almost entirely with wonderful women.

Nobody told me that over time my butt would pack up and depart, leaving my trousers to dribble around on the tops of my shoes.

Nobody told me that the sight of my older sister, her oxygen tank slung over her shoulder, trudging slowly upstairs, stopping on every other rise to catch her breath, would bring tears to my eyes.

Nobody told me that my creative, quick-witted younger brother, riddled now with cancer, would, as a result of his recent “milder” chemo, spike a neutropenic fever, lose all his muscle strength, be hospitalized and cease to know where he is.

Nobody told me that from time to time I would find myself shaded by a shadow of survivor guilt while, simultaneously pulsing with gratitude for my good health.


Painting by Brandon Stoddard 

Painting by Brandon Stoddard 

And nobody told me that we would plow through these rough waters with everything we’ve got.

Written by Cecily Stranahan, our companion on this journey of reflection and self-discovery. Visit Cecily's Blog at