This week, two deaths have affected me with many emotions. Friday I learned that John McCain had died after his year long battle with cancer. I will never, in this blog disclose my political affiliation, because I feel that politics are a hot topic that Is personal and pushes way too many buttons in people.
I am proud to be an American living in an incredible country, and John McCain was one of the most devoted Americans to his country that I know of. Serving in the military and his years spent as a POW, and his six terms as a senator are beyond honorable. But John McCain, one year ago met the one enemy and opponent that he had to finally surrender to. That killer is called Glioblastoma multiforme. I have tried to keep up over the past year with any report on his health or his status, and it did not surprise me that he kept his place in the senate until the very end.
The word Glioblastoma is one of the most sad, foul words I know. it is the word and horrible cancer that took my mom’s life when I was 23. My husband and I had only been married 6 months, when one day at work in the RTP business that I worked in, my father called crying saying my mom had had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. My husband, on that day was in his first of three grueling and intense days of pharmacy board tests. We were to move from Chapel Hill the next week to the town he would become a pharmacist in. On that day, my life blew up. In the time, that was supposed to be so exciting and hopeful for two newlyweds had in a second turned devastating.
The following week was a roller coaster. My mom had been sent to Durham and between the worry, visiting the hospital, my husband trying to finish his boards, packing to move, and me trying to finish my last week at a job in Regulatory affairs, we heard the news that changed our lives forever. We had been told that she had a brain tumor, and during the surgery they discovered that it was inoperable. Glioblastoma has characteristics that other tumors do not have. My moms tumor sat on the optical part of her brain, and like a dark black widow spider, this tumor sends many long spidery legs down all over the brain making it impossible to remove. The doctor gave her a year to live. My brother and sister went straight to the hospital library to research the disease. I could not even put one foot in front of the other. They quickly found out that this was a death sentence. My mom lasted almost two years to the day, I believe because my father insisted that she try every thing to fix the problem, from chemo to experimental drugs thru a study that Duke was conducting, all of these heroics prolonged the inevitable and delivered a horrible existence for her. She was too lovely a person to be put thru that and her children just wanted it to be fast and as painless as possible.
The other death that I mourn was a young man that had lived next to us for years and died in a tragic boating accident last weekend. This young man, was 35 and genuinely happy everyday you saw him. Some people have a demeanor that exudes a strong well being and contagious positivity. Well that was Will. He was one of the most generous and kind people I’ve ever known. Many times when my daughter’s twins were born he would leave food, flowers, or a bottle of wine for she and her husband. He always said, let me know when you wAnt to use my vacation home in Wilmington. You are welcome to. I never knew his partner who lived in another state, but what a loss I know he is feeling. Will had friends all over the globe, and he could have written a book on his many adventures and travels. My heart aches for his mother’s loss.
Life is so very fleeting. Why does it take a tragic accident or a horrible diagnosis to make us want to gather our love ones in our arms and give thanks. Tell the people you love What they mean to you. Rejoice in your children. Thank your parents for raising you and nurturing you. Love your child no matter whom they choose to be with or what they choose in life. Love unconditionally… life is too short to not tell people how you feel. Live your life with no regrets.
In the sixty minutes interview Sunday evening with John McCain and his wife filmed months before he passed. He said, “I had a wonderful life, and I do not regret any of it.” They asked him, “even the years after you were held prisoner after your plane had been shot down over Hanoi?” He responded by saying , the men that were with me as other prisoners were my friends and I’m blessed to have known them. We got each other thru the horrors. I feel sure that the other young man, Will, that passed away could also say, I have no regrets with my life.
Can many people claim that they honestly do not have any regrets. In my young neighbor’s obituary there is a quote. “Stay close to the people that feel like sunshine.” Sunshine is a metaphor for life, health and happiness… So many times I’ve shouted “Yay the suns out!”. Will just made your day brighter.
I wouldn’t say that John McCain made people happy all of the time. He had many enemies in the senate. The colleagues that disagreed with his views however admired his tenacity and his loyalty to his country and his loyalty to his beliefs.
I can say that everyone that knew Will, would say that when they left him they felt better about their day and happy for knowing him.
would people say that about you?……….
Below you will find a link to my friend, Maria Parker’s, passion and fight to find a cure for Glioblastoma. Maria’s sister died from the disease. Her strength and love for her sister and never ending energy to bike across the country to raise money for brain cancer research is so remarkably honorable. Her journey is inspiring and a documentary was filmed about her incredible long long biking fundraiser. Please visit the site and marvel how she has gone to battle for this killer called CANCER..