My extensive writing on my CaringBridge site began with an attempt to document my health status. Then it became a tool for helping me understand the massive and entirely positive transformation in my outlook on life since my diagnosis with grade-4 GBMO brain cancer. Then as I started to get used to my new perspective, continuing to write was inspired tremendously by a desire to help people — especially the people in the world I love the most: my family.
I’ve been surprised to learn that I don’t fear death for my own sake. (Debilitation might well be much worse for everyone, including myself.) But when it comes to dying, when my time comes — which I hope and expect will be many decades from now — I feel it will be just like the time before I was born. Not dark, not scary, just nothing at all. Something like this Youtube video featuring Alan Watts sharing his philosophical take on life and death, set to a haunting and beautiful animated short film.
But when I have had moments of fear (which thankfully were mostly just in the handful of days between the surgery and the pathology report) it has been for the sake of my family. The idea of being unable to provide or care for them, of leaving Shawna to fend for herself and of not being there for Abi and Harper, is incredibly painful to consider. And so when I realized I had all this gratitude and happiness and heightened perception of beauty, I began documenting as much of it as I could, not just to understand it better, but also increasingly to be a resource for them in the future, whether I’m here and healthy or not. To show them concretely, “This is who your father was”, and to set an example, i.e. “When the shit hits the fan, this is how to handle it. This is how to be accepting of whatever happens. Everything will be ok.” [That is not to say that I’ve allowed any kind of dishonesty into my writing in an attempt to sugarcoat things. I’ve been completely transparent. The degree to which I’ve changed as a person in the last month would make doing anything else impossible for me.]
Also, I realized that even in the likely event I ultimately defeat this thing, perhaps as teens or young adults my beloved daughters will be in a state of not wanting to accept help or support from me. In that case, maybe they’ll still end up reading some of this and perhaps gain some insights or encouragement from it. That’s my hope and intent. To the degree that sharing my thoughts and perspective so openly might be helpful to anyone else [apparently it has been, so far, for some], that has been an unexpected but very gratifying side effect. I can’t think of anything more important in life than helping other people be happy. [To that end, I issue fair warning that I may be annoyingly zealous in my newfound enthusiasm for healthy eating and meditation, both of which have been of tremendous benefit to me.] In any event, I plan to continue writing like this for as long as the muse is with me.
Finally, thank you for reading this, and for being a part of my life. Being deeply and personally connected to so many phenomenal people remains a wellspring of happiness for me. 🙂
Sincerely, with so much love and gratitude,