What is your favourite season?

What is your most favourite thing to do in that season?

What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet done?

What is your biggest wish?

Now close your eyes and imagine you’ve just been told you have Stage IV cancer and only 6 months to live.

What would you do first?

What would you miss?

I’ve been haunted by the possibility that I won’t live to see another winter.  It’s a thought which slams into you!  As a true Canadian – born on December 31, 1965 and raised in the suburbs of Montréal, Québec – I don’t just embrace winter, I live for it.  My parents were at a New Years Eve party that I decided to crash (in true Lisa form!) … and I was born less than an hour from 1966.  I was made for snow.

As a cancer patient, I now live my life in 3 to 6 month intervals.  Death isn’t necessarily some far off event on the decades away horizon.

What do you still want to experience?  What legacy do you want to leave?  We, my friends only have one second or 30+ years left.

What will I miss about winter?

The scene of Silent Night … the quiet calmness that blankets a town as thick snow falls.  Sing the carol in your head if you know it.

The simple pleasure of closing your eyes and sticking out your tongue to catch snowflakes.

Skating on an outdoor rink.

Fresh powder for skis.

Snow forts.

The marvelous beauty and individuality of each perfect snowflake.

The cold on your cheeks.

Coats … mittens … hats … scarves.

Stuck tongues.

Candy Cane Time

The breathtaking beauty of snow covered mountains.

moraine lake

Spiked hot chocolate at the chalet.

Frantic shopping excursions downtown to prepare for the holiday season.  Snow filled sidewalks and big display windows.

Cutting down your own Christmas tree.

Family traditions.

Traditional turkey dinner with sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables.  Comfort food.

I’m the last to go to bed on Christmas Eve.  I fill the stockings and arrange all the gifts under the tree.  I sit with only the Christmas tree lights on and reminisce … about loved ones who won’t join us this year.  About Christmases past.  How blessed we are and how grateful I am.  And I make a wish for the year.  My last one didn’t come true.

Your favourite Christmas tree decoration. What happens to it?

Snowed in by the fireplace for days while you ride out Snowmaggedon.

School cancellations.

Snow angels.

Snowball fights.

I’ve skied Whistler.  I’d love to ski in Switzerland.

I don’t remember much from my last Carnaval de Québec, but I still have my bonhomme.  I’d love to go again and stay in the Ice Hotel.

I want to skate on the Rideau Canal.

I want to head north to the land of constant winter with Jan for an IFAW save.

My two dogs are ecstatically joyful as they play in the first deep snowfall!  Especially Annie, my northern rescue husky mix … she sticks her whole muzzle deep into the snow and snorts.  Carly kicks up her heels and races through the snow like a reindeer!

Christmas Carly 16

Maybe your favourite season is summer … which is almost here.

Do me a favour?  Make a list of everything you love about summer.  Remember everything special you want to experience.  Maybe you have 30 summers left.  Maybe you have five.  Maybe you have one.  There might not be a reprieve.

What’s the one thing you can’t miss this summer?

And go do it this summer like it was your last.  If it was my last summer, I would want you to show up at my funeral with a slip of paper telling me what fucking awesome bucket list item you knocked off because I said so.  Toss it into the coffin.  I’d be honoured.



P.S.  I was the crowned Snow Queen at Jubilee Elementary in Grade 2.  My Dad made me this winter bird cage crown and they pushed me around on the teacher’s paper cart.  This has nothing to do with my Ice Queen title …

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11 thoughts to “Stage IV

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  • House of Heart

    I have done a lot of things, fulfilled a lot of wishes. If I had just six months I would spend it with my loved ones. My favorite season is Spring…thank you for the lovely post! <3

  • JT Twissel

    I like your bucket list idea. Take care – you sound like a marvelous person.

    • the fox

      Thank you!

  • Tina J

    Haha, LJ, I was Snow Queen in Elementary school too. It was great! I got to sit on a throne on a float while all the other kids were walking around dressed as snow flakes. I’m a summer baby, but I love the fact that we have four seasons. It makes you appreciate each one. Thank you for this reminder. To live each day to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow brings. Love U

    • the fox

      Love you too Tina!

  • Miriam

    Hi Lisa, I came here via Rob’s blog and I’m glad I did. My eyes are still moist with tears from reading your words. You’re right, none of us know how long we have, so why do we put off doing things? Here’s to living life to the full, however long we have. Thank you for a beautiful heartfelt post. I wish you all the best. xo

    • the fox

      Thank you … live and love each day you have.

      • Miriam

        Wise words … yes indeed. ❤️

  • Aquileana

    So moving. I wish for you strenght and joy. Thank you for sharing this. Makes me ponder many things and their priceless value. <3

  • C

    Oh, beautiful summer…
    The feel of the sun freckling your skin
    Then the coolness of jumping in the lake to cool off.
    The dip of a paddle in the still early morning water
    The buzz of cicadas on a hot summer afternoon
    and the chirp of crickets on a cool evening.

    Because I know we’ll see each other this summer and share our lists.

    And if we have to part ways in the fall (or I hope much later), I promise to leave you a note from that bucket list too, and to get out and do it. Life is short and your positivity and thoughtfulness is beautiful.

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