if you were told you had six months to a year to live? How would you feel? How would you cope? How would you keep a positive attitude? How would you not be angry?
When I was growing up, I think it is fair to say I was a pretty active member of our church's youth group. We had a GREAT time. We always got together on Sunday nights after church, had a prayer group, and then, quite often, headed to Noble Romans for breadsticks! It was a great support group made up from a variety of kids from three different high schools and multiple backgrounds. Our youth leader was bigger than life to me. I truly thought the world of him. I went college and our youth group splintered as we all went different ways after high school. I thought often of our youth leader. I graduated from college, went on to grad school, and began working. Again, I thought often of that youth leader. I continued to do so as I went about my life and, at one point, either Mom or Dad ran into him somewhere and caught him up on what I was doing in my life. He was married when he was our youth leader and I don't want to slight his wife. She was (and is) very sweet, but she was also very quiet. They complimented each other. He was the "cool" youth minister, you know? You truly could talk to him about anything and know he would listen.
Fast forward to the past year. I joined the Facebook crowd and one day found him there! I was SO excited and thrilled. We "friended" each other. I fired off a long e-mail to him and, to my disappointment, I did not hear back from him. To be honest, I was a little upset. To be truthful, I didn't know where he had gone with his life and I don't know that I ever truly expressed to him what an influence he was on me. When I read his blog and saw where he was at and what he was doing, I understood why I did not get a response and I am completely ok with that. I know it was not a slight or anything because I know he was doing far more important things. I was still happy we could keep up with one another via Facebook.
Fast forward to this past December. He had been feeling ill and learned he had a brain tumor. He had surgery on Christmas Eve. Somewhere around this same time, he published a book he had written.
Fast forward to this past week. His wife posted on his blog that his cancer was aggressive and he had been told he would live six months to a year. What a shock. I knew it was serious in December, but I also just knew he could beat it, you know? He is strong in his faith and is not afraid of dying. In fact, his wife said she feels as if he is dealing with it much better than she is (which you can understand). She said he went through a period of depression, but is fighting for each day and is, thankfully, in no pain. She said she tries to be there for his every need. He does get upset because he doesn't want his life to be over at 53 years.
It is just a shock to me. I know people deal with this daily. I just can't imagine. He has SO much more to offer to SO, SO many people. I am still reeling somewhat from his news and I have not talked to him in years. His death, which is inevitable, will be difficult.
Add to this, my room mate in grad school has been diagnosed with tongue and oral cancer. She recently had a feeding tube inserted and is going through radiation and chemotherapy now. I am hoping for the best for her as she has a hard struggle ahead of her. Her cancer is beatable, but, from what I understand, it will be a difficult and ugly fight. I worry about her each day. She is only a year younger than me. She is trying to keep everyone up to date via Facebook too, but you can tell it is getting harder for her.
So, tell those people close to you how you feel about them. Don't be afraid to live or care. My life is better because of each of these people. Tell someone they make a difference. I don't what to sound like I am on a soap box, but both of these persons have weighed heavily on my mind since I learned what each was going through or dealing with. It certainly makes you put life in a different perspective. It certainly makes you appreciate things.