My co-worker’s memorial service was yesterday. It was wonderful and horrible, happy and sorrowful.
I didn’t know Meghan that well. She had only worked with us for about a year when she left for maternity leave. Three months after her son’s birth, she was diagnosed with stage four ademocarcinoma. For all intent and purpose, that’s a death sentence. Sure, for some people, radiation and chemotherapy melt the cancer away and for that person, their cancer is held at bay and they live for two, three, four, or even more years. But the average life expectancy is 6 to 12 months with treatment.
I don’t know all of this because of Meghan’s diagnosis but because of the research and doctor’s visits after my husband’s diagnosis three days after Christmas. As I followed Meghan’s journey on The Caring Bridge, a site where family and friends, or even the patient, can post blog-like entries and keep other family and friends, near and far up-to-date, I was living in my mind the journey my husband and I would be taking. He has accepted it and is fighting the good fight with treatments, with the eye on a few good months to spend with me, his daughter and her family, and friends. I am praying for a miracle.
All of this of course has put a damper on the publication of Snow Day. It is hard to give too much attention to an inanimate object when all I can think of is the limited time available to give my attention to the very animate object who needs it so much. It is difficult to be happy about seeing my book in print when my heart is breaking. I hold Snow Day in my hand and my heart swells with pride and seconds later it collapses in on itself as I think of future books and who won’t be there to share that success with me.
But life is life, it is what it is. We can’t change that, we can only move ahead, one step at a time, one day at a time and handle it all with as much grace as we can muster.That’s what Meghan’s memorial reminded me of. She handled her cancer with hope, determination, and grace. Several people spoke at her memorial, recalling encounters with Meghan and how she had affected their lives. For me, I will remember how she handled it all, with no outward signs of bitterness or anger.
Her friend Amy read a poem by Mother Theresa called “Life is.” It struck a chord with me, so much so that I did a Google search for it as soon as I got back to the office. I printed it out and put it on our refrigerator, so Bate and I can see it every day. I want to embrace every day, I want Bate to embrace every day, just as Meghan did. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to do just that. I want to share it with all of you now, to remind anyone who reads my blog today that “life is life, fight for it.”
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it."
— Mother Teresa