*I wrote this last year, but have reorganised it on the advice of a friend so now it looks like I did it this year!*
Well ... this is a seemingly heavy one but if you persevere ... there is hope ... :)
This past summer I was travelling in Turkey and I received an email from a good friend of mine. She is in her mid 30s and is married with three gorgeous boys. She was writing to tell me that she had been diagnosed with cancer and that the medical prognosis is bleak. Transplants wont work due to the immunity suppressing drugs they use would cause any other cancer cells to grow out of control. Surgery to remove the cancer growths in the liver not an option cause they are spread throughout the liver and not only in one area. Chemo may (30% to 50% chance) only relieve symptoms but not cure it. She is completely dependent now on what God can do. (Perhaps that is a lesson on how we should be living life!) I went to see her when I was home and her emotional state is amazing – fighting … positive … looking to God. Also real.
A recent Oprah Magazine was on friendship and there is a wonderful piece in there written by a lady who sat with her friend as she was dying - her friend had asked her to help take her there - not physically, but emotionally. It was beautiful and reminded me of being with my Dad as he died and what a gift that was. The last line of the article talks about how her friend's death impacted her. It said, "it broke my heart. It strengthened my soul". I read that and sat and just cried - it's so true and really crystalised it for me.
So with my friend looking to live, I have been thinking of loved ones who have died and the legacy or life lessons they left with me – I shall share with you.
Lesson Number One – Dad
He was greatly respected in our town – so much so that I used to be embarrassed by little ladies on the street who would stop me and tell me how wonderful my father was and how kind he was to them.
He was 49 when he died – had lung cancer and then 3 brain tumours. He had a lot of living left to do. When he died, the thing I heard the most was “how is it fair that good people like him die when there are so many horrible people doing horrible things in the world who live”? Fair question … the fair answer is that life is not fair. The thing here is it’s the wrong question and the wrong focus – brings me to lesson number one.
Ps 139 says that all my days were ordained for me in your book before one of them came to be. God is Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. He alone knows our days. The lesson I learnt is, “it’s not how many days we get, its what we do with them”. My Dad did not waste his days.