I can immerse myself in it still, as if it was happening in the here and now rather in the then and there.
My friend, Kevan, strutting across the stage in a cameo appearance in a late night show I was appeared in was it nearly five or six years ago? The show was called True Tales 2. He was wearing chaps and only chaps. It was October. He died the following Spring but on that late evening in October, we didn’t know he was sick.
I laughed as he came through, but I never looked at him. Call it my puritanical roots, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t lift my head to watch him. He always left right after his brief appearance so we never got to giggle about it in the moment, it was just a “here and gone” thing.
Last Summer it was my melanoma diagnosis, surgery and scarring that kept me from the stage. I just wasn’t comfortable anymore and worse than the scar on my face, perhaps, was the scar on my heart. Like anything else, theatre had lost its luster for me. I didn’t think it was possible, but I had tired of it. I grieved this loss like any other: I got angry, I got sad, I got resigned, I gave up.
The last thing I was expecting while I was traveling in the Berkshires recently was a text message asking if I would be interested in taking a role someone else had left. I didn’t think about it, really, I just said yes. The day before I had
Three weeks later I was on stage again, three weeks later, I am off stage again.
I wouldn’t call myself sad per se, but I am not sure how exactly to describe what I am feeling.
Perhaps it is the bubbling up of gratitude: the awareness I wanted this, I did this, I enjoyed this, I tried my best at this.
Perhaps it is satisfaction of a job well done: applause and laughter from the audience, kudos from the creative team, pure delight at becoming another kooky character.
I have often given lip service to one of my favorite thoughts, “You never know when it will be the last time at your stage,” perhaps remembering Kevan’s nightly prance I never truly saw. I didn’t actually know this feeling personally, though.
Now I do know it.
It isn’t a melancholy experience, it is more the grateful, satisfied, courageous experience of doing something purely for the love and letting myself go, fully, knowing this very well may be the final bow.
This reality the gift of melanoma gave me will undoubtedly be a bell whose ring I hear over and over again.
I’m surprised to say I am beginning to enjoy its tone.@JulieJordanScot
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