Sitting down to write with a somewhat heavy heart. With my 2012 pledge to keep HOPE in my life at all times, I found it tested on just the 3rd day into the new year. A beloved family friend was given a cancer diagnosis this week. I wallowed for a moment in the unfairness of this damned disease. Today I will just say SUCK IT, CANCER! You are not welcome here or anywhere for that matter.
As I spoke to several family members I just kept reliving moments of when my mother was diagnosed. When anyone tells you your family member has a prognosis of anything short of a normal lifetime, there is a feeling of WTF. That may be a good estimate if you are in the oncology profession but when faced with losing a loved one, no amount of time left seems long enough. I learned at a very early age how precious life is. My mom has always been the women who shares I love you's freely and I am also now that girl. I rarely get off the phone with anyone I am close to without saying Love Ya girlie or I love you. Yes this may seem very odd to some who don't throw those words around lightly, but I will never miss the opportunity to let someone know what they mean to me. My husband has grown accustomed to hearing it and I think still gets caught off guard at times when he hears me end a call that way. "Who are you I loving now?" I spew a name of a friend and he just smiles. Sometimes I am too much. After 18 years I no longer get a lecture only a smile.
I love you's aren't my only form of endearment. I often will drop a friend or family member a note or facebook hello to let them know they are in my thoughts. If I give a word of encouragement it is always from the heart. I embrace friendships with those who I read genuine instantly and don't discard friends easily. As I think of my friend with their recent diagnosis, I am not allowing it to define who they are now. They are not Cancer, they are still the same loving amazing person they were before this knowledge crept to the surface. I am fighting the pain I know their family is in. They are also my family and I vow to not wait till it's too late to let them know how wonderful they are.
You may never read this and I am not writing this because I think the time is short. I am writing this because you are funny and remarkable in all you have done. I remember a time shortly after I joined the family when you told me a story about a friend of yours who asked you to go on a alzheimers walk with them. You laughed when you told the punchline...'I would go but you know you won't remember it.' Ahhh that is you. Caring and funny. A person who never has met a stranger. Fully engulfed in the lives of all you know. Also quick to make friends and never afraid to live even if you know the friend won't be here forever. You shared with me another time at my husband's step fathers funeral that all your friends seem to be leaving this world. You also smiled and told me some really funny stories. That is you. Even in the darkest of hours you can come up with a shred of light. I know you well enough to know you will not let this define or debilitate your life. You will live as you have until you someday, hopefully years from now, join our friends and family at the great pub in the sky. When you get out of the hospital I will share a scotch with you. One because it was my dad's favorite drink, two because we have never shared a scotch together. Seems a shame to waste a good scotch.
To my family who is also dealing with this, I love you. Simply words with lots of meaning. May we all LIVE until we die & allow our loved ones the honor of doing the same.
Until next time, Keep the HOPE!
Catie (Cancer/Scoliosis can Suck IT) D.