Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life is life

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…

"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


Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hi, Pamela,

What a lovely post. You're right. Life is life. We have to just accept what it brings us sometimes and hope and pray for the best.

My hope and prayers are with you and your husband right now. I, too, will pray for a miracle. Still... enjoy every moment you have together. Help your husband live as if he were going to live forever so he doesn't waste a minute of the time he has left. I think we all need to live that way because none of us is guaranteed a specific time here on earth.

You're very brave. I admire you for that.

God bless!

Kate Dolan said...

A wonderful, touching and heartbreaking post. Your bravery is inspirational. And your philosophy is admirable, too. Enjoy your book in those fleeting moments - you deserve it. Then focus on the people around you. This is something we all need to remember - none of us know how much time we have left together.
Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Keep your faith and live each day with him and your daughter. It's hard not to think of what we think he will miss but in truth he'd always be with you both. As a daughter coming into the teen years who dealt with my own father's cancer, his death (in fact I celebrated 18 years last Saturday the 19th), and afterwards, I can relate with you and more likely with your daughter. I'm praying for your husband, you, and your daughter for a miracle even if it is to bring your family so much closer together.

Mayra Calvani said...

Dear Pamela,
I'm glad I discovered your blog. I'm also an author at the CWCC.
Your post really got to me and reminded me of how frail our lives are and how we should be grateful for what we have. I certainly pray for you and your husband. I pray every day so that someone will find a cure for cancer once and for all.
You are being very brave, and like Suzanne, I really admire you for it.

Rebecca said...

Sending hugs your way.

Karen Cioffi said...

Pamela, my heart and prayers are with you and your husband.

What a beautiful poem by Mother Theresa. Although it can be difficult at times to follow these words, it's so worth it to try.

Keep up the good fight.

Dianne G. Sagan said...

Pamela, what a wonderful post. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but what a life lesson and an example of how to live. You and your husband are in my prayers. I admire your bravery.
Thank you,