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It’s bad enough that anyone has to go through this… What happens next might be the only thing you find comfort in…
In January of 2017 my dad was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer and the doctors didn’t think we had even two weeks left together.
What actually happened next was we embarked on a 21-month battle against cancer where we spent incredibly meaningful time together, talked about everything and finished a bucket list of things (actually 2!) that he wanted to do before his time on this earth was over.
The bad news was… as we were fighting side by side for almost 2 years, I didn’t really have time to stop and think about how I would feel when the fight was over.
Here’s the thing…
The fight gives you drive. You have a mission to focus on and you can just push everything else aside and focus on that. It was so much easier to keep going when we had a clear mission and less downtime to dwell on the things we can’t change.
Side note: It’s easy though to push all of those “messy feelings” aside and not deal with them at all while you stay focused on the mission. I would encourage you to find the time to deal with some of them or they may explode out at the absolutely wrong time… (ask me how I know!)
Death is a part of life…
Trust me, it’s not the part I am thrilled about either. But, after going through the cancer experience with my dad and ultimately losing him, there are a few lessons throughout this scenario that have given me some comfort as we progress through another new normal…
Lesson one …
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
None of us are going to live forever. That’s not the point. We are not meant to be here forever.
So, what happens next?
The bottom line…
We get one shot at this life. Once chance to make it amazing. So, you have to make the most of every single second you get.
The second lesson was, no one should have to go through what that man went through. From the fear and the stress, the debilitating symptoms, the treatments, the side effects, the pain, and the agony….
You start to look at things much differently when you’ve watched someone endure this month after month. Over and over they keep trying to get back up, but cancer keeps kicking them down. And after a while, you start to feel like you’re helping them get back up, so cancer can take a better shot.
I am a HUGE advocate of FIGHTING. We fought hard for almost 2 years, and I am insanely proud of that battle. But I also understand why he was ready to stop fighting .
I wasn’t sure what happens next but I do know there are things in this life that are so much worse than death.
Suffering and agony are two of those things.
Sometimes the people we love keep fighting for us because they don’t think we are ready to give up.
I was never going to be “ready” to stop fighting. Never.
But I totally understand why he was ready to stop, and my job was ALWAYS to fully support the decisions he was making as we went along.
So, now I try to focus more on what I believe rather than what I know for sure as we move through this.
Make sure your absolutely first step is to contact Hospice.
What happens next…
I believe that you are not going anywhere until it’s your time.
When God decides to call you home and He is ready for you, that’s it. It’s your time.
We might not be ready for any of this (I definitely wasn’t) but I believe in His plan and after lot of reflection and thought, I know that my dad was struggling… and now he’s at peace.
I also believe that when it’s your time to enter the gates, Heaven is AMAZING.
Literally, everything you love, and everything that makes you happy is there ready for your fulfillment in this one special place.
If true happiness for you is Fly Fishing and an authentic spaghetti and meatball dinner… than Heaven is Catskill Mountain Streams and Carmine’s every night.
I believe that you can stay “here” on earth connected to those you left behind in some way. Although I am not sure exactly how that works, I can feel my dad every day.
I believe that while I am down here sad and crying, that my dad is having a blast up there with his sister and his nephew and a slew of other important people that we’ve lost along the way.
I believe that there is no pain and no sorrow in Heaven. And, more importantly, there is NO CANCER in Heaven.
I believe that meeting God is the most incredible thing to happen to anyone…
And meeting God face to face is part of the amazing gift that you’ll be given when you get there.
I have no idea what to expect Heaven to be like. No one does. That’s part of the fear, right?
We don’t have to know everything. We just have to trust. In fact, there are only 3 things that matter to me.
From my perspective, what happens next is that my dad is happy, pain-free and most importantly cancer free. Even though I miss him like crazy, that’s all I ever really wanted for him anyway.
P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!
The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used for organizing medical information.
Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. And, the best part it’s FREE…
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