I got some sad news yesterday morning.
I’ve found myself thinking about life, death, love, hate, friendship and the world around me in general today. RambleMan’s creation couldn’t have been better timed. When I was younger I kept a paper journal. If nothing else, it allowed me to dump my thoughts onto paper in order to stand back and look at them all together and try to make some sense of them.
Somebody that I went to high school with was diagnosed with cancer last week. They don’t know specifically what type of cancer yet, but upon discovery, the doctors have told her family that it’s firmly entrenched in her body and have given her a year to live. Holy shit. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had those casual discussions with friends in the past about what we would do if we had a limited amount of time to live. Travel, marriage, charge up credit cards, spend time with family, become a hermit. This is real, though. You have a year to live and you’re in your early 30’s. What do you do?
I don’t know what to do. I really haven’t seen her much since high school. We weren’t close. We had a small graduating class and we live in a small town, though, so I still feel the bond with her because of that. This is also brand new news to her and her family. THEY have to come to terms with what this really means, let alone concern themselves with people like me who want to help.
I started out by e-mailing the news to everybody that I’m still in touch with from my grad class. When I got home from work I had a number of responses thanking me for telling them about it as well as asking what they can do to help – donate money to a fund to help offset the costs the family will undoubtedly face such as air travel, medical treatments and medication, time away from work, etc., as well as people wondering what hospital she’s in so they can send flowers. I’m proud of my grad class and am honoured to be one of them. Their first reaction is ‘what can we do to help?’
Yesterday afternoon when I was talking to someone about this who also had heard the news she told me that one of the girl’s friends who has just completed her university years to become a teacher has decided to take the year off work and do whatever her friend wants to do. If she wants to travel and see the world, she’ll be there at her side. If she wants to stay in town and relax, she’ll be here to support her. Wow. I honestly can’t say that I would do that. I feel like an uncaring cad to say I wouldn’t do that for a close friend, but I’m being honest. I’m sure my perspective of it all would be different if it was me and my close friend.
I don’t know what I would do if I found out I had a limited time to live, or that I had contracted a fatal disease. I know those close to me would want to know, to be able to support and be there for me, but I don’t know if I’d want to be looked at as “the guy who has cancer and is going to die” for the rest of my days. Is it cowardly to not tell people? Is it brave to deal with it on your own? I just don’t know. Would I be ABLE to go on living my life without telling people? I would imagine it would weigh so heavily on my mind I would feel compelled to tell people. I certainly wouldn’t want my last days to be spent toiling at a job, that’s for sure.
I am far from finishing putting all my thoughts down on this. For me personally, it opens up a lot of questions on love, marriage and whether I’m happy with the life I’ve made for myself. I promise to include updates about her health as time progresses.
Do me a favour and tell someone you care for that you love them. I know I don’t do it often enough and I suspect most people don’t either.