Death is a part of life. Knowing that and dealing with it are two completely different things. No matter how much time you have to process everything, you will never be prepared for the end of the journey…
Have you ever experienced something first-hand that has changed your life? Something that no matter how much preparation you had, you could never be prepared for?
Cancer has had a profound effect on me and my family.
When my dad was first diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer, they told us he had “days to weeks” to live…
Our journey lasted 21 months in total. And let me tell you, we fought a hell of a battle… <3
We spent the last 21 months talking about EVERYTHING, living our lives to the absolute fullest and enjoying every minute of the time we had left together.
I thought the time we had to prepare and process this situation would make things easier. It didn’t.
It doesn’t matter how much time you have…you could never be prepared for this.
At the time that our journey was coming to an end and we were going through the absolute worst time of our lives… another family was living the exact same nightmare.
Senator John McCain’s family.
For weeks the media was a flurry of articles and debates about Senator McCain “giving up” the fight.
I was distressed for anyone reading those headlines who may have been fighting a battle like this…
Because anyone who feels that John McCain “gave up” the fight against cancer, has obviously not watched the progression of this disease affect someone that they love.
If they had, they wouldn’t make an ignorant statement like that.
Watching someone that you love to go through this is devastating. And no matter how hard you try, you could never be prepared for this.
Life as you know it will never be the same.
Cancer is a horrifying disease that affects people in ways you could never even imagine unless you’ve experienced it.
As a human, you probably appreciate some of the more personal things in your life. For example, the ability to use the bathroom on your own, or walk across the living room, or take a shower and still have enough energy to dress yourself…
Cancer can rip that away from you in a second.
It’s hard to imagine unless you’ve watched it first hand, someone endure a pain that has circulated throughout their body and robbed them of ability to walk. Or watched them spend weeks not being able to eat anything because even a glass of juice comes back up in the most violent way.
You will never be prepared for rushing someone that you love to the hospital with tears streaming down your face while you’re seriously thinking “this is the end,” “I’m not ready.”
Cancer is not like fighting a “normal” battle. And the very treatment that might be saving your life is adding to the havoc. Creating sickness and side effects, I couldn’t even comprehend before I watched this in action.
You could never be prepared for what it’s like to watch someone you love go through a battle like this…
That being said, cancer’s not all bad. In fact, you learn some powerful lessons from cancer.
How to pay attention to the things you’ve never really noticed before, how to appreciate the little things, and how to prioritize what’s important in your life…
You learn to put all of your trust in God because He will give you the strength you need to make it through. And I can’t possibly imagine trying to go through something of this magnitude without Him.
And, you learn to take it one day at a time and do the best you can. Some days your best might be to sleep all day and eat ice cream for breakfast. And you know what? We fully support days like that…
Everyone needs days like that.
The truth is, I hate cancer with a passion. But, I also understand now that there are things in this world much worse than death.
The agony and the suffering associated with cancer can be one of those things.
It’s like watching someone get kicked to the ground over and over. And then helping them get back up to fight again. No matter how strong they are, everyone has a breaking point.
It’s a horrible and debilitating disease that no one should have to deal with… that you could never be prepared for.
I don’t care what you’ve done or how you’ve lived your life, no one deserves to go through this.
And watching someone you love struggle through this every single day is heartbreaking.
Sometimes helping your loved one fight this battle means that you understand and support them when they have decided that cancer is no longer going to be allowed to control their lives.
Just recently, my dad made that exact decision.
Daddy passed away peacefully at home (with the support of hospice), surrounded by people who loved him and right now I imagine he is fly fishing all day in Heaven with his sister and his parents.
I believe that my Dad is happy in heaven, with no pain and most importantly with no cancer
Nobody expected us to make it for almost two full years, but my dad was a true warrior, just like Senator McCain.
If you have undergone even one cancer treatment or helped someone battle this disease, you are a warrior…
You keep fighting for as long and as hard as you can.
But when you’re exhausted, and you can’t fight anymore… it’s okay.
Loving someone means fighting for them when they’re exhausted, and they can’t do it themselves. And sometimes loving someone means supporting their decisions, even when its hard and you may not want to.
The people that love you will stand and fight with you, they will take a break with you and when you’ve reached your breaking point and you’re ready to be free and let God handle the rest…
The people that love you will understand.
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