Prognosis and Climate change

There is not a day that I don’t think about climate change.  I think about the loss that is unfolding before our eyes and often I think about actions I can take to  slow it down.  My close friends hear my thoughts about this.. How many resources should we be using to slow it down whilesimultaneously we need to be planning for the effects it is bringing us.  And while I am making changes in my life to address climate change there is a constant awareness that we are not making them fast enough.

A friend recently asked me where this need to focus so constantly comes from.  What part of me feels this nudge?  I have thought of her question and realized the similarity for me around Doug’s dying process.  When Doug was diagnosed he already had 27 tumors in his body.  A shocking discovery for a man that had biked in Switzerland a few weeks before.  He later said that the experience of biking was his last “feeling good day”.
So there was this urgency to find out what kind of cancer he had so we could begin treatment.  At the same time that we felt this urgency there was immediately blocks to moving forward.  The local hospital and its many doctors decided to no longer take our insurance so we had to navigate finding all new doctors in a nearby town.  It took two tissue samples and weeks of waiting to get a diagnosis .  Other mistakes were made.. a misdiagnosis.. lost records….an infection caused by one of the procedures.  And always there was this sense of losing the time we needed to move forward.
Through out this process I was researching his cancer which was very rare, trying to find any clinical trials to get into.  But nothing.  A rare cancer also doesn’t have many trials especially one that is so deadly and quick.  Doug’s role in this was to focus on getting through the appointments.. treatments and living his life as fully as he could.  My role was to research and share with him only what he wanted to know.  So he knew what was needed to make a decision but he chose to not know the prognosis.   That was what I carried.  He never knew that the average life span was only seven months.. . Doug made it to ten months and lived through the last few months happy and full of which I am grateful.
When I said to my friend that new studies show that south Vietnam may only have thirty more years before it is under water..I was blurting out a prognosis. And we of course don’t know the exact time line but there is a sense of urgency in me.  I think it is the urgency that first came up with Doug’ illness.  That if we figured out all the right things and moved quickly we could save his life.  But at some point there was a realization that it was time to let go of the strategy and to hold what life there was tenderly.  And some of these same feelings are here. There is a sense that I am holding many perceptions at once.  To know what is happening but not be so fearful that I shut down to doing what I know to do… compassionately accept the loss and deaths already occurring and to live fully with what is.
 We have to wake up…make changes….live fully.. Because sometimes we only have seven months.
May you wake to  beauty and gratitude in each moment in the New Year!

14 thoughts on “Prognosis and Climate change

  1. Beautiful, Walker. Not a day goes by that I, too, don’t think of climate change and what we can do, from actions that always feel too little too late, to facing into the suffering as boldly and directly as you have modeled in your and Doug’s life. Thank you, dear Walker, and wishing you wonder in this New Year. Ginny

    On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 12:09 PM Let Life Live Through You wrote:

    > Walker Silsbee posted: ” There is not a day that I don’t think about > climate change. I think about the loss that is unfolding before our eyes > and often I think about actions I can take to slow it down. My close > friends hear my thoughts about this.. How many resources shoul” >


  2. Beautiful post. Thank you for continuing to write and share your thoughts. I am always left curious of how the words are affecting me and how they bring light to things. I appreciate your writing. And sharing. Have a Happy New Year, With love, Alex

    Alex Pearson



  3. Thank you for sharing this urgent message about climate change and your vulnerability Walker. Although I never had the honor to meet you and Doug, you and Doug continue to inspire me. I witnessed first hand the climate change on my annual trek to Maine. I’ve been going there since 1989. The lobsterman cannot catch lobster in the bay where I stay because the water is too warm and the lobster have moved North as have other fish. Therefore the seagulls do not hang around anymore with their constant chatter. There are moths that are destroying the beautiful trees…there are ticks and mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases…it just doesn’t get cold enough to keep them from thriving. I’m so saddened by what many consider a gradual change that I am experiencing abruptly. Thanks for the reminder to accept what I cannot change and to change the things I can.


  4. Walker you are the gift who keeps on giving.

    I am an avid diver. The coral reefs are my church and my sanctuary. And even as i lose myself in the beauty, diversity and sheer intensity of life all around me, there’s a sadness. Seems very much like the feeling of love and longing and soul-deep grief at the bedside of a dying loved one.

    I miss Doug. I only knew him for a year or so, but he continues to grow as an important force in my own lineage. Sending much love and much gratitude.


  5. May we all wake with a sense of urgency, the need for action and embracing the present moment with those we love and all beings on this planet, and the power of gratitude. Thank you, dear Walker and Doug, for your examples of love and gratitude in action. With love and hope for 2020 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for giving me such insight into your inner world. Sometimes I cry when I see mountains or the sun shining or anything that I am so privileged to enjoy, emphasized by knowing that my death and my loss are sure to come. Meanwhile I recycle and march and sign petitions but I am sure there is more I must, and want, to do.


  7. Thank you for sharing this message of urgency, which I totally agree with. This needs to be a core focus for all of us in 2020. It is a wonderful legacy from Doug to have your experience of his dying mirror your thoughts about the planet. Sending lots of strength your way, and Doug’s presence continues to be felt by me!


  8. Thank you for your beautiful and moving words, Walker. I think about you and Doug so often. I hope that 2020 brings you peace and love.


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