Something happened in my life recently that I need to share with you all. Last week on her way to work, a friend and coworker of mine was killed in a car accident. She just didn’t show up to the office that day. As I frantically made phone calls and sent text messages, an accident was reported on the news…with a picture of her car. After receiving confirmation, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and devastation. I had just seen her, talked with her, and laughed with her the day before. Yet here I sat, with terminal cancer, and my friend was gone.
Just. Like. That.
I have spent the last almost four years since my stage IV diagnosis living in fear of the future. The day will come that I run out of treatment options, that the pain will be too great for me to live comfortably, and that I’ll have to someday say goodbye to my sweet child. I had thought I understood, truly, just how precious life is, however I was in for a wake-up call that morning last week. My friend, who did not suffer from a life threatening illness, left her home that morning for a routine drive to work, most likely with her music blaring while she sang, and now she is gone. No warning, no time to prepare, just gone. We in the cancer community repeatedly strike back at those who hit us with the “any of us could get hit by a bus” analogy, but you know what? It really is true. None of us know for sure when our time is up, not even those of us who feel we have expiration dates looming. We only have this day, this moment, all of us.
My friend really lived her life. She was kind and generous to everyone she met, going out of her way to help people and even making a career from it. She didn’t live her life chained to her desk but took amazing vacations and spent time with friends. There was always a story or a joke, always a smile on her face. Her family and friends were her world and we all knew it. We all felt her joy. I cannot think of anything better to say about someone at the end of their life than this. Today, I will start living my life keeping this in mind. Things I have been putting off like journaling and painting, things that feed my soul, I will make time for. I am going to start planning that next vacation and looking to the future. I have today, this moment, to do that.
Join me, Bellies. Take one thing that you have always wanted to do and put it into action. Be a little kinder and tell the people you care about how you feel. Better yet, show them. February is the month of love after all. We have this day. We do not know what tomorrow brings and dwelling on it takes away from the joy in this moment. Find your joy and live it! And as always, we are here to help…
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