Sometimes the most amazing things in life are the people you meet, but not only the people you meet but in the ways you meet them and connect with them.  4 months ago I wrote a blog (“Dear, We’re all dying”).  In the blog I shared my fear of dying, not just a fear of dying; but a fear of dying young and a fear that is on my mind constantly, so constantly and painfully that it is on my heart and my mind  every single, solitary day.  After the blog was shared it reached the eyes of a friend of a friend; Sam.  Sam was someone I had heard of, had mutual friends with, and have even hung around the same social circles in, but had never met.
Ironically, this is the same way I met my husband too.  Just like Sam and I, my husband and my path had crossed several times before; but God had our timing and our meeting already mapped out.
I met Sam in the exact same way, by God’s Grace.  After my first blog, ‘Dear We’re all Dying’ Sam and my path crossed again and we finally met after she wrote to me,  “I have the same fear of dying; it haunts me everyday”.  It wasn’t until then, when we could share in something special; a special understanding in a fear of dying that God’s timing was right.  It amazes me to know that we could have met several times before, just the same as my husband and I could have met many times before; but I didn’t meet these two amazing people until the timing was right.  So now, I hold the same amazing level of how I met my husband to the same amazing and high regards on how I met my, dear friend Sam.
Our friendship has been formed after the mutual understanding and mutual feelings of fear we both share of dying and dying young. Although our medical conditions are completely different (I have lived with a rare heart disease all my life, a disease that has no cure).  Sam though, has cancer, she has already had cancer once in her life, and has kicked its butt once before; at the young age of 37 she is fighting (Sarcoma) cancer again now for the second time, and is in the process of trying new treatments as she continues to beat the odds and kick its butt.  From getting to know her, I have felt comfort in finding someone who ‘gets me’, and who gets IT, …who gets the elephant in the room.  The ever looming death elephant.  It’s not something your spouse wants to talk to you about, but is necessary to talk about, it’s something your parents rarely talk to you about, and it’s something few friends will ask you about in actual detail.  Except she is a friend who I can talk to about it, and not only that, but is able to relate to me as well.  Being able to relate to someone in such a personal, difficult and touching way, and a way that is hard for other people to want to talk about and understand has been one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

When I met Sam I will never forget her response in my number one question I had for her, the same question many others have asked her too; how does she remain so positive and so strong?  Her response is forever tattooed in my heart, “if you had cancer, you’d be this strong too”.  You’d be this strong too.  This strong, response, from one of the strongest, faith-filled persons I know hit me.

samcan

I am amazed by her attitude and her light to live, and maybe it’s easy for her to say that and even easy for her to think that; but that’s probably because it seems as though she has her mind and heart trained to think so positive, to have so much faith, to be so strong.  I can’t help but wonder; if others had cancer, if I had cancer; would I REALLY be that strong?!  When so many people can find just about anything to complain about, or are so overwhelmed stressing over the little things; I wonder, would everyone REALLY be this strong?  Maybe Sam is right.  I’ve met several other survivors of cancer, and several others facing cancer and it seems as that beautiful light, the love and the strength is a universal thing; across the board from survivor to survivor.  Maybe everyone would and can have that strength and that beautiful life living light.  But what if we all made it our mission to shine our light BEFORE we have a life altering experience? BEFORE we have to face death straight in the face?
Maybe we’d find less things to complain about and maybe we’d find less people, groups and religions to hate and more people to love if our only thought was ‘what legacy am I leaving?’ Or our only worry was, ‘is this going to be the last night I get to sleep next to my spouse?’  Or like one of the toughest realizations and worries that Sam has shared, she wrote to me, “I know we will all die, but the thought of my boys growing up without a mom is devastating”. sam and boys

So what if instead of allowing ourselves to get caught up in the little things, if our biggest worry, and our biggest concern was, ‘is this going to be the last time I see my children?’  What if these 3 worries were what drove our life?  Because in this beautiful life, this is what matters, and this is what it means to be facing death and to have death at the forefront of your mind constantly.

sam and boys2
Sometimes  the most amazing things in life, are the people you meet and how God has brought them into your life; and then the other amazing thing about meeting the ones who are supposed to be in your life is learning how to honor and appreciate everything they can teach you.

sam and i
To the people that are facing death and trying to live life, to the people living with severe medical and mental issues or anyone that has a fear of dying that keeps you up at night and gives you an overwhelming amount of anxiety day in and day out; we get you, we get IT and you are understood.  You are in our hearts and in our prayers.
#samcan #peacesofmyheart #youdbethisstrongtoo #dearwerealldying

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2 thoughts on ““If You had Cancer, You’d be this Strong Too”-‘Dear, We’re all Dying, Part II’

  1. As the Momof twin 24 yr old twin boys one of which went into cardiac arrest three years ago then 13 months later was diagnosed with advanced thyroid cancer I thank you for your words. He deals with the idea that the cancer will return everyday. After surgery to remove his thyroid along with 46 lymphoids of which 17 were found to be cancerous he feels so alone on his journey. I can only try to get what he goes threw everyday. We ask the questions ” why him”, but there is no awnser. He has been an athlete his whole life and an all state baseball player. After reading your blog I feel a better understanding of what he is living each day. You both will be in my prayers. Kevin proudly wears his ” Cancer Sucks” t- shirt when he goes to the doctor.

  2. I come from a different point of view, but a similar understanding of death and dying and “elephant” in her room. My mother died when o was little and secretly in my head as I child I could feel and understand the depths of death and it would scare me. Looking back, I was having panic attacks at night so frequently because I would continue to go to a place where I could feel what it was like to face your own mortality. By the grace of God, my mother took me to Heaven (that is a whole other story) and after that experience I never had a panic attack at night again. I was able to rest knowing there truly is a heaven and that my mother is absolutely not “dead” but just in another dimension you could say possibly? This all took place when I was in grade school. I was able to return to a kid and not feel crazy or deeper than everyone else 🙂 I became a nurse in ICU and have been able to comfort very sick people facing a certain soon death and bring comfort, not only by sharing my true belief in “heaven” but also by just talking about death and dying and listening to their thoughts and feelings so they don’t feel so deeply alone. People always say how sad that I lost my month at 4yrs old which it is and I would have loved to have a real mother, but rough my mother’s death I found God.

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