I’m seven months into a twenty-four-month sentence, seven months since I read my diagnosis online. As I continually move onward into autumn – life’s autumn – I’ve come upon a couple conclusions: Time flies quickly, and dying’s not easy.
It’s hard not to realize just how the days are numbered. Correction, how my days are numbered. The days of my youth are unrecognizable. High school remains a distant memory. College dreams faded like over-ripened flower petals. And friendships have come and gone like freshly evaporated dew found of a desert morn.
I am sympathetic to the ‘unaware.’ Working in healthcare has left me surprised at how many are both shocked and unprepared. Most of us aren’t ready for death. Heavy sighs and universal comments follow death, “I always thought we (substitute wife, father, husband, son, daughter, etc.) had more time.”
I’ll admit it hasn’t been easy. Much to my disillusionment, both pain and number of bad days have increased by the month. Between work and disease management, there’s been little comfort, little space to dwell in the emotional realm, and thoughts of reconciling conversation gave way to pain medication.
Yesterday I looked at my calendar and froze. Seven months post-diagnosis, even I thought I’d more time.
However, here’s lessons I’ve learned thus far.
- Regardless of how I hide my illness, I realize dying has an impact. When I look at my family, it’s hard to believe my father remains alive and will quite possibly outlive me. I will never fully understand how my departure will impact the family who remains.
- Forget dreams. Live every day. I had visions of becoming a great writer. I didn’t become a great writer. I rely upon spell check, and grammar checkers like cars need gas. Without those modern assets, my college English teacher would concur that I, in essence, “Suck.” Yet, I write my blog notes when I can. And through it, I lived my dream versus dreaming of it.
- I once entertained thoughts of saving the world. Throughout my years of life, only once did I receive an award for bravery. In truth, my part felt pretty much overrated. I never placed myself in jeopardy. Why? Simply because we were trained to mitigate the risks. Instead, I honored the men and women who did save the world. Walking among the graves of a national military cemetery in the Midwest, I found true saviors – men and women so much braver than I.
- Remain joyful for the gifts received: the many moments of fun, the travel, the cultures, love of others, and the food. But I leave others with insightful, loving thoughts. In turn, I hope they help pay it forward. Take care of the people in your life, and they’ll take care of you.
- Believe in yourself. Don’t wait on others to accomplish something positive. If you write, write for yourself. If you’re music, be the harmony of notes others need to hear.
- Do not fail waiting for someone to drag you out of a ditch. You are just as good as anyone else.
- Sometimes, you must turn a deaf ear to what others say is impossible.
- Don’t be afraid to get back on the bus. A mother once sent her son off to school on the bus. After returning home, the doorbell rang. Opening the door, the mother saw her son.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m quitting school. It’s too hard, boring, and long.”
The mother frowned, “That’s life, now get back on the bus.”
Regardless what life tosses, get back on the bus. Embrace the days. They are all you’ve got. Rather than keep our heads above water, surviving but not “living,” Focus on living.
Categories: Life Lessons