Thirteen years ago this month I lost my first cancer buddy. I remember him annually at his family’s memorial walk, which benefits Young Adult Cancer Canada, and many other days during the year. Today is another.
In my early days of my cancer journey I reacted with sadness and anger to loosing a buddy to cancer. Part of this was the reminder of how close I could be to joining them, part of it was the question “why us,” part of it was a feeling it just wasn’t fair.
I immediately went to my keyboard to express my anger and—at times—sadness. This practice ensued for years. As personal growth brought perspective and I gained experience dealing with death, I allowed myself a little bit more time to process and just “be.”
However my initial reaction remains largely intact today as I focus on channeling my anger and sadness into my work. Is this truth an example of me avoiding death or have I evolved to a place where I can use that energy to help myself and others?
Like the mystery surrounding death itself, that question is one for which I have no definitive answer.
We’ve lost a lot of survivors from YACC’s family in the past month; each one is different, each one is tough. Their deaths prompt internal reflection, and without guilt, I do ask why I’m still here. I find it difficult not to ask that question. Fortunately the answers come as easily as the question.
It is extreme to say that I’m driven by death, but it’s fair to say death drives me.
Today it drives me to remember some great friends, give thanks for their time in my life and, most of all, to be thankful for being here today.
Hug someone you love.
Live life. Love life.