Mountains reveal desperation, grief (post cancer death)

Author's note: This blog was originally published on my personal blog, http://unravelcancer.blogspot.com/ on Monday, April 6th.

 

Mountaineering

 

The last week has been a whirlwind. I've learned a lot about what it takes to climb a mountain. My physical limitations have hit me smack in the face. My pal & I tried to summit Mt. Tallac last Thursday & failed because we both got so wiped out. Then I hiked out to Little Round Top at Carson Pass, but, didn't go all the way because of weather & stamina.

 

Both situations humbled me deeply, and I began to question whether I could climb Denali in 2011. I now accept that I can't.

 

But, during that Carson Pass trip, I came to a place of great acceptance & enjoyed & delighted the situation & the scenery, even though a big snowstorm blew in. 

 

So, I'm trying to reconcile in my own mind & heart whether I can climb mountains. I'm trying to not beat myself up for moving Denali to 2012. This entire last month of training has taught me that I'm incredibly hard on myself. I knew this already to some degree, but this is a new version revealed.

 

What do I do now?

 

 

Grief

 

 

 

Last night some folks from my yoga class went out for a drink & bite to eat. One really great gal ended up talking with me at length, as she lost her mother last summer & was still coming out of it.  She mentioned to me that my life is my own to live, and that nothing I do will bring my brother back.


I stink at hiking and mountaineering. My ankles & feet are bad. My brother's atheletic ability was beyond human it seemed. Just look at this photo of Mickey & his buddy Nick at the top of a Peruvian peak:

 

Mickey, on the right, looks like he just stepped out of a spa. He's happy, smiling, raising his axe high, his cheeks are flushed with a great color, etc, etc.  His pal Nick, on the left, is barely raising his axe, still has his pack on because he probably only just got up to the summit where Mickey was waiting, and looks a little more peckish & not great coloring. (Saying this with love, Nick!) 


The point is, Mickey was a flipping mountain goat. High altitudes & long hikes made his body feel good. He was excellent at this kind of activity.  My body doesn't like this activity.


But, will I let him, and all his buddies at the services, down, if I don't climb the peaks on the list? 

More grief

 

The whole situation with what it'll take to climb Denali, the courses, the fitness commitment, the training, the practice hikes, etc. burns my gut. I've actually been quite pissed off these last few days. I'm angry because this isn't happening as smoothly as I had hoped. Glacier classes for Rainier are full up, causing schedule crunches, & are way expensive. Other Shasta glacier classes are interfering with the WFR I want to take. 


The whole endeavor has just become a giant hassle. Trying to fit in all this training AND prep for "my" trip (the interviews) has been super insanity inducing. 


But, something is compelling me to do this. Something tells me I _have_ to. If I don't complete the climbing list, then I'll be letting my brother down, I'll be a chicken, and the whole community of people I talked to at the services will think I'm lame - right?

 

 

 

 

 

The last week has been a whirlwind. I've learned a lot about what it takes to climb a mountain. My physical limitations have hit me smack in the face. My pal & I tried to summit Mt. Tallac last Thursday & failed because we both got so wiped out. Then I hiked out to Little Round Top at Carson Pass, but, didn't go all the way because of weather & stamina.
Both situations humbled me deeply, and I began to question whether I could climb Denali in 2011. I now accept that I can't.
But, during that Carson Pass trip, I came to a place of great acceptance & enjoyed & delighted the situation & the scenery, even though a big snowstorm blew in. 
So, I'm trying to reconcile in my own mind & heart whether I can climb mountains. I'm trying to not beat myself up for moving Denali to 2012. This entire last month of training has taught me that I'm incredibly hard on myself. I knew this already to some degree, but this is a new version revealed.
What do I do now

 

Internal stuff

 

 

What might be also happening here is that I'm changing. My ability to handle the snowstorm on Carson Pass even surprised me. I'm going with the "flow" more, as previously noted, and great things are happening. Is my desire to not climb these peaks a way to stop myself from the changes that will come as a result?


What I said to the yoga class friend last night was that two things will happen if I go through with these climbs:

1) My mind will completely change; my outlook on life & attitude will be transformed

2) I'll face the fear of my own death.


These are not bad things. I sense my anger is a resistance to these 2 things. It could be that creeping adder called Fear, too, that's trying to put the breaks on. But, on the same token, all this training, these classes, are a lot. And, more to the point, I'm not living my life the way I want. I'm totally stressed about "fitting in" all this stuff before I launch on the trip, and "getting done" these climbs/classes/etc.  It doesn't feel fun. This is not what I want my trip to look like or feel like.


So, I'm at a crossroads, and there's a tremendous amount of guilt welling up. I just don't know what to do. But, my ankles have totally rebelled from all this training. I mildly sprained my left ankle on the very first training run 3 weeks ago, and have been in denial of it. Then my right inner arch sprain was re-ativated after my training walk on the stairs on Monday. My body is saying "no", and I'm pissed because my mind & heart are saying "yes" to all this.


I simply don't know what to do. More will be revealed, I guess. But, one thing is I don't want to force myself into a Rainier course on April 23rd. It's too soon, I don't have any of the gear, and I have to be out of my apartment at the end of the month. This leaves me only between today & leaving for CO on Wed to vacate. It's too much. 


I'm trying to learn how to care for myself through all this. I'm not very good at that either. How is all this gonna work? Right now it just feels overwhelming & scary. 


No solutions in today's post, folks. Sure wish there was...

 

 

 

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.