This notice came to me in May – I think I was in hospital at the time. Meg is a photographer and a breast cancer survivor. She just started her blog last March. I have excerpted a portion of a recent post for your edification.
Last Wednesday, we celebrated Mike’s Uncle Johnny’s life at his funeral service and burial. It was a very nice service and although the circumstances weren’t ideal, it was nice to see all of Mike’s family. Unfortunately, coming from a pretty big family as well as marrying into a big family means that I have attended a lot of funerals in my twenty-nine years. But, this time it was very different. Sitting in the pew next to Mike at the gorgeous Shrine of the Little Flower Church, I was reminded of our amazing wedding day in that very same place – the absolute happiest day of my life. At the same time, I couldn’t help but think about my own death and how one day, my own funeral will take place in that very church. I by no means consider myself dying, but when you are diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and told there is no cure for what you have, it is nearly impossible to not let these thoughts creep into your mind. I knew attending a funeral would be difficult for me, and it definitely was. It just hits a little too close to home right now and I couldn’t help but think of what that day will be like and how it will possibly arrive decades earlier than I ever thought.
I wish I could tell you I didn’t think about these things. But truth be told, I think about it way more than I would like. Facing your own death is such an overwhelming, all consuming feeling – it feels like a tidal wave of grief and sadness, where despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to find the surface to catch your breath. It is something that I have obviously never come close to experiencing before and a feeling that I can’t even put properly into words. It gives you an entire new outlook on life – what’s important and what’s not – and how to cherish the time you are given. I think we all assume we are automatically given a lifetime of 80+ years on this Earth. The truth is, nothing is promised to any of us and a long life is not guaranteed to anyone.
There are times when I still can’t fully wrap my head around what is happening. And if I have made it three days without crying, I consider it a success. I am truly not afraid of death, but the thought of leaving Mike, my mom and the rest of my loved ones before I am ready, just breaks my heart. However, I do my best on a daily basis to use the time I am given to live my best life, to tell the ones I love how I feel about them, and to fully appreciate every blessing that is given to me. That is all I can do, because the alternative is to curl up in bed and never climb out – which has never been, nor will it ever become an option for me.
Sorry for such deep and heavy thoughts today but these are things that I think about a lot. I have shared some pretty difficult, intense and emotional conversations with Mike, my mom, and some of my closest friends and I always end up feeling better after releasing these thoughts to others. It’s incredible how isolating this can feel sometimes because not many people can say they know how you feel, but that’s all the more reason why I am so grateful for all of you. Your love and support truly gets me through those tough times and you have no idea how much that means to me.