Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Irishwoman Wrestles Death and Wins

October is cancer awareness month. My first sincerest hope is that this disease has not touched your life and never does. It is my second sincerest hope that one day the world is going to figure out how to beat it--all of it. Having seen the process up close, I don't think the answer is surgery, chemo, or radiation. Those are very elaborate band-aids, and at times they help, but they are not cures. My daughter became a science experiment before the end of her life. No offense to the medical community or doctors of any sort, but there just has to be a better way.

An article I wrote about my daughter dying of cancer last year was released on Wednesday. I wrote it for a support site serving mostly women looking for help and encouragement. Seeing the truth in black and white was a bit tough for me, tougher than I expected, but I needed to start to talk about it. It is not something I talk about constantly, but it also doesn't need to be something hidden in a dark part of my life. I want everyone who has watched a loved one die of that horrible disease know that what people say during it is true. It really does get better. It just takes some time, and more time for some than others. And while you are passing through that time, you have to allow yourself the things you need in the process. Some of us heal best by lighting a candle for others trying to find their way out of the dark. My way out was to create my stories.  Here is a link to the article if you haven't seen it and are interested.

Then Steve Job died this week. He was a business person I admired, but also he was a human who seemed to try his best to give back to the world when he could. His cancer changed him. Do I know this personally? I know this by knowing that no one I have ever met that had cancer or was any way intimate with someone with cancer could have remained unaffected. From my perspective, his life was filled with many examples of working to find the value in what he was doing. He wanted to make each moment count for as much as he could. This has been my mantra since I turned 50 and started seeing younger co-workers in my stressful job dying all around me. My daughter's death was the brick to my head that finally got me going in the right direction. A year or so later Steve Jobs' death is a reminder. He was 56, just three years older than I am. He had a full, wonderful, adventurous life from my perspective looking from the outside in, but as I write this post I find myself sincerely hoping he thought the same thing about his life. I also wonder if he felt finished with what he came here to do when he died. Had he wrung every drop of everything he could from it?

Well, I'm not done yet. I have tons of stories left to tell and I hope I have time. I'm of Irish heritage so I'm going to go have a drink now and lift a glass to his memory and my daughter's . I'm also a Philosopher so while I'm drinking I will ponder the meaning of life as well. I doubt I will get very far. More and more I'm starting to see that life is more about the journey than the destination. I wish I had known that when I was 30, but am thankful to at least know it now.

If you haven't listened to Jobs 2005 commencement speech, it's worth fourteen minutes of your life if you liked the man at all. He's telling his stories in it. I can respect that. This link is compliments of the The Passive Voice blog. Thanks PG.

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