Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Living as though you're dying...

I stumbled upon and spent a significant amount of time reading a blog that broke my heart, inspired me, enlightened me, taught me and made me realize the true importance of life. I cried, laughed and I was filled all sorts of emotions as I continued reading post after post. The link to the blog is http://www.punkrockmommy.org/ -it’s about a woman named Andrea Collins-Smith, a wife and a mother of 6 who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last year and she documented her entire experience, her trials, battles, victories, disappointments, feelings, changes and challenges. She stressed the importance of her family, friends and faith and how each day truly is a gift especially when you’re dying. Every kiss is longer, every hug is tighter, every conversation is deeper, every moment spent with the ones you love is sweeter, every tear and laugh is so much more profound, every song is listened to more intently, every smile is brighter, and every extra day is truly a priceless gift.

Here I am sitting in my office with a box of tissues bawling my eyes out as I continued to read and each post I read made me want to go on. She passed away on July 5th and just before she passed away she wrote a blog for her husband to post after she was gone. Wow, the tears were flowing. I found so much insight in each and every post I read from the day her cancer was discovered, to the day it brutally stole her vitality. I laughed at her humor which seemed to be something that sustained her, I cried when I read about how much she loved being a mom and was not so much afraid to die but terrified of leaving her kids. I would recommend reading as much as you can if you have time. I feel so different after reading it. I guess I don’t really realize how fragile this life is. One day you can be a happy, healthy and young wife and mother of 6 who just graduated college and just 2 days later you find out that you have the most aggressive cancer of its kind. Talk about a reality check, talk about putting things in perspective.

I honestly don’t know how I would handle news like that. You know when someone tells you “You’re dying.” What does that feel like? What does it feel like to know that you only have a year or maybe a few more months with your dear loved ones? What does it feel like to know that they will all go on without you to graduate, fall in love, get married and have children and you won’t be there to witness it or help them through each and every trial and celebrate their victories with them? What does it feel like? I do not ever wish to know. Thankfully, when faced with this sort of adversity we can have hope for there is hope to be had.

What I love about this blog is she chose to accept the reality of her condition as God’s will. She fought hard and she did all that she could in her power to rid her body of this terrible and monstrous disease but her efforts as well as many physicians failed. So, she embraced the cold harsh truth of reality and decided to make every day she had left worth living, noticing and appreciating the small things and taking the time to love harder and live life to the fullest.

Wow, I am deeply impacted. I wonder how many lives her story has already touched. I can imagine many. Pray for her family, her friends, her dear children and husband, I can’t imagine the pain they are facing right now. I hate cancer, I hate the harshness of it and its ability to slowly and painfully steal a life, it’s terrible and I hate it.

I am so blessed. You are so blessed. If you are healthy, have a roof over your head, have people in your life who you love and who love you in return then why are you complaining? Why am I complaining? It’s not about who is wrong, it’s not about revenge or holding onto grudges. Why is it that it takes death for us to realize the true value and importance of our lives? Why is it that we live as though we’ll never die? We are not invincible; we are not immortal…yet. We’re only given one life here to determine our eternity. We’re given as many chances as we need here, we can always say, “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow” but when you take that last breath tomorrow will never be and you will never be given another chance, it’s over and you’ve already determined your destiny. YOU choose how you live, no one can choose for you…only you. So, I would recommend that we all learn to live as though we just found out that we were dying. It’s hard to do, especially when it’s not real but I can only imagine how much more love I could offer, how much more sacred time would be and how much more important my relationships with my family and friends would be. It’s worth a try…


Andrea said...

I have been following that blog too and was so touched by it! Tears indeed!

Lately I have been feeling my heart tugged by God to really look past the little things and just enjoy life. Who cares if my husband didn't do the dishes or clean the kitchen, he's falling asleep next to me, right?

Mitzy said...

Oh my gosh!!.. This blog is a VERY eye opening one!!.. I was in tears as I read some of her posts!!

I really like what she said in her 'last" post, about Life is too short to care and worry about the stupid things that really dont matter!!.. it is so true!!!

mrs.leah.maria said...

One can't help but be touched by her story. She was an amazing woman. Your take aways are very inspirational as well.