Cancer has forced me to examine every facet of my life. As I've examined all these details, mistakes, joys, laughs, pains and loves I've shared most of it with you. Ego aside, I hope it's been a educational experience. My Dad's always said, "Those who don't learn must feel." A phrase which I just recently learned came from his mother, whom I never met.
What I'm saying is, it's much easier to learn through the experiences and mistakes of others, than it is to have to experience the pain yourself. Some of us can't learn that way. I couldn't. If I could have I would have saved myself a lot of sorrow. Granted, if I had to go through everything I have just to be with Kristin, and have this time with her, I'd do it all again. But if my confessions and thoughts on here have enabled just one person to avoid something painful in his or her life, I'm thankful for it. Further, if anything I've said or done here have helped anyone find, improve or just acknowledge a relationship with God, then I am thankful for the cancer. Having cancer, and all it entails, is worth it to me if just one person becomes closer to God because of it.
With a firmer prognosis of my forth-coming death Kristin and I have been talking about trying to take one more trip. I'd really like to go to New York or take her to Disney World. I've never been to New York. It was a goal when I was younger. One of those things you always assume you'll get to one day. After looking at prices and realizing what out-of-pocket and co-pays are going to add up to this year it's looking less and less like we'll be able to go anywhere other than a week-end trip to the Oregon coast. I'd really like one last huge experience, other than that death thing which seems rather unavoidable. (C'mon and laugh. That was funny stuff right there. Don't make me come any closer to quoting Larry The Cable Guy.)
There are many things that aren't going to happen now. Good and bad. But I can't ignore the good:
- My parents have somewhere to go now when I'm gone. Somewhere they're excited about spending their "golden" years.
- Kristin will have experienced what I hope to be the toughest time in her life. Somewhere out there God has a very special man who will appreciate her and love her even more/better (if that's possible) than I have. She knows, now, how strong she can be and what love should feel like.
- I think, hope, that some people have learned to find joy in their circumstances. In ways and places they wouldn't have thought to or to have tried before.
- I have found family in places I never knew they were and found that they love me without stipulations or requirements.
So tonight... This week... For as long as I have... I am, in many ways, thankful for the cancer, and all it's done for me.
Thank you to all who read this, to those who've supported me, to those who've loved me. Let's hope we have more time together. Happy Thanksgiving.
Here's a poem my Dad's mother used to quote each year by an unknown poet (as far as I can tell) entitled Thanksgiving:
Pies of pumpkins, apple, mince
Jams and Jellies-peach and quince
Purple grapes and apples red
Cakes and nuts and gingerbread
Turkey-oh-a great big fellow
Fruits all ripe and rich and mellow
Everything that’s nice to eat
More than I can now repeat
Lots and lots of jolly fun
Games to play and races run
All as happy as can be
For this happiness you can see
We must thank the One who gave
All the good things that we have
That is why we keep this day
“Set aside” our mothers say