Seven Days

We’ve discussed this before. We’ve had this conversation. But nothing is more real about this chat then it is right now. Because over the last three weeks while we have worried about our weight, yelled impatiently at our children, huffed and puffed out at the series of frustrating road users a man I know has been counting down his days. Not his days til Christmas or days til his next holiday but the days of his life.

Three weeks ago he was told he had a month to live and while we all can’t wait to get into bed at night only to wake up the next day bleary eyed can we even come close to imagining how those nights and those mornings clicked by way too quickly for him.

Yesterday marked one week to go. 7 days or there abouts. How fucken unfair. How frustrating. How absolutely devastating. I cannot even fathom how this feels for him, for anyone dealing with this same mortality. I cannot put into words what each day drawing to an end would feel like to this man. And I can’t tell you how sad I selfishly feel.

How do you grieve the life you had, that life you have to let go? How do you do that? How the fuck do you do that! How do you sum up your life and ‘tie up loose ends’ when the biggest loose end is that you don’t want to fucken die! You want to live! You want to fall in love again and again. You want to explore the world. You want to hug every member of your family. Thank every one of your friends for every moment you’ve ever shared. Say sorry. Take your kids on a spectacular holiday. Boldly quit your job and train for your dream job.

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One week.

Seven days.

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What is really important in that moment of severely shortened time? What becomes the main focus in your life? Who would you spend your time with? How would you feel?

I don’t write this to bring on guilt for those who have just cried about a frustrating yet precious child. Not written to bring shame for the materialistic lives we lead. Not to instil fear in our own mortality. Just words written for a man I know with seven days left on his life calendar. His LIFE calendar. Just words from my heart because I feel so sad. For him. For his family. For the “what ifs”. For the challenges and unfairness of it all. For the fact he has just written his own eulogy which is not done for premeditated fun but out of a requirement to him and his final words of life. LIFE.

So I ask of you be grateful today, if even only for a moment. Be gracious over the next seven days in a compassionate way to all those on this similar and terminal journey. What we take for granted is a blessing to others. Less whinging, more hugging.

One Love,
DRK xxx

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A year of lasts. A year of firsts.

This year someone I know is celebrating their ‘lasts’. Their last birthday, their last Easter, their last long weekend in June. 

Odds are they will not see another one.

Odds are they will be “lucky” if they make it til Christmas. 

Odds are a year of “lasts” is a wild roller coaster ride that no one wants to get on. In fact no one goes on it voluntarily. This is a coaster ride that starts with confusion, disbelief and, in misdiagnosed cases, anger. ‘The fight’ then kicks in. This is where you will do anything, anything, to beat it, to prove ‘them’ wrong. To make sure you’ve uncovered and discovered any treatments or options or miracle cures. Then the frustration of it all boils over followed by that deep emitting sadness that maybe, just maybe you actually won’t make it and finally, and hopefully, acceptance. 

This is the roller coaster just for the terminally ill. The one the family goes on is similar but mixed up and around a bit. The acceptance of the fight ahead is the first initial supporting role, the confusion and the frustration of not being able to save them follows, then that deep unforgiving sadness when they leave, followed by anger, guilt, confusion, the feelings of unfairness, the questionable ‘what ifs’. Acceptance comes much, much later for the ones left behind.

A year of lasts is the year where your mortality stares you in the face each and every moment of each and every day. A year of lasts will see some fighting it every step of the way. Others who will write their bucket lists and hurriedly, joyfully get those things ticked off. Others choose to use their last year to inspire others, to leave a mark – their mark – on the world. But however, and whoever, it is that are living their ‘lasts’ they will be living it as if all of these moments are also their firsts. Because the simple things we take for granted have a very different look when they are stripped away, when they’re bare naked, raw and mortal. Life looks different through the eyes of the dying. Yet aren’t we all? Dying that is.

  

If you’ve said for years how you’d love to take your Dad to a live football game, just do it. If you’ve always dreamt of hot air ballooning with your husband, book it and just fucken do it. Make it happen. Whatever it is. Why wait til the day you are told you only have 12 months to live. Why wait until it is too late. It’s time to look at your own mortality in a most positive way. We are all dying. We all won’t make it. So what are we all doing with our lives! Whose fucking living it?!

One love,

DRK xxx

  

Day 3 – Sucks Less

I’ve just returned from a birthday party.

But it wasn’t the type with streamers or candles.

My greatest challenge of the night wasn’t avoiding the party food or the birthday cake it was, in fact, holding myself together. Holding myself together because looking around the room I saw 8 out of the 10 smiling guests either have had cancer or have been directly touched by cancer. The guest of honour himself has been given 12 months to live. If it’s a good year.

This makes my hunger, detoxing pains suck less. Suck less because they are inferior to the reality. They suck less because I am choosing to be hungry. Choosing to because I want to feel better, to be happier, to be healthier, to live longer. Today sucks less because I have the choice, still, to create my future.

So day three is done and dusted.

Today on day three I am grateful.

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One love

DRK xxx

Tissues and Stars

I watched a movie called “The Fault in our Stars” today yesterday a few days ago (ok so it took me awhile to finish writing this blog) and it was…. Wow… Just wow! This movie is as beautiful as it is touching. It’s about life, young love, young death and cancer. But its even more then that it’s also about leaving behind memories or a scar as Augustus says. It’s about being important and deeply loved by someone. Oh and by the way cancer totally sucks balls right?!

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I have had this movie since it came out on DVD but I had been putting off watching it. Why? Well for lots of reasons – the same reasons why I couldn’t finish the book I suppose. Because not finishing the book meant the story didn’t end and I knew it wouldn’t end the way I like fairytales novels to end – with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. I knew the ending would be death. I knew cancer would win. I knew it would bring up my heartbreak over my brothers own cancer battle, a life lost. The things he missed out on having and experiencing. But he left a scar … on me, on many.

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If you haven’t watched this movie I suggest you grab a box of tissues and watch it. It is not a deeply depressing movie where you will finish watching it and want to go drown your sorrows in a bottle of Jacks it is instead, heart warming and lovely. It will leave you feeling grateful for healthy lungs and it’ll make you want to hug your kids and be present with each conversation you have with people who are important in your life. It will make you want to say the things you don’t say often enough, things usually left to an eulogy. Are you brave enough to say those things out loud, to the people who need to hear it? It’ll put things into perspective and remind you how precious life is. And even though I still haven’t found out the meaning of life – or my role in this movie of Life – I do feel all warm and squooshy on the inside because after watching this movie because I realise that I don’t have to change the world to be important. So pressures off.. Phew…

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One love
DRK xxx