So, back then, and maybe still now, I haven’t seen it for years, I loved The Big Chill. I thought it was clever and smart and good about relationships (and yes, white, straight, rich) … but today, thinking of the so many people I know who are living with debilitating or life-threatening illness, the so many of us who have had debilitating or life-threatening illness, the constant falling-off of health, and the daily painful suffering of a huge number of people I love dearly, I think it’s odd that those characters lives were so absurdly charmed that no-one was sick (dead, yes, but not sick), no-one was living with what continuing pain and illness and the knock-on suffering of living with or after illness does to us.
And it’s not to do with my age now, some of my dear ones began living with disease in our 20s, I had cancer the first time in my 30s. The cost of illness is high, higher than many of us admit, for the ill and for those alongside them.
Sometimes, I hear it said “so-and-so is lucky they survived, lucky they made it, lucky to be alive”, and I know it’s said with love, meant with love, but I think it’s wrong. The lucky ones are those who have never had (yet) to directly confront their own mortality, to live with daily pain, have never had to wonder if they are, indeed, ‘lucky’ to be alive.
So here’s to those who managed today, easily or not, because sometimes, often, simply keeping on is bloody hard work.