It’s been 17 years since my father died of cancer. I’m now 23. This may seem like a depressing post– it’s not.
What can you learn in 17 years? The taste of struggle, isolation, perseverance. I remember our last coaching session last week: “who comes to your mind when you think of the word resilience?”
My family comes to mind. The day my dad died was the day our story turned a new leaf. The protagonist was my mom, and it was her against the odds. I learned the definition of resilience. It was my mom and three kids and a world turned on its head.
“What does it mean to bounce back?” Bouncing back is my paternal grandmother crying at my dad’s funeral, and choosing to love another day, again and again. It’s my siblings and aunts and cousins who reweaved the story, until grief, like all things, became a faint memory of love.
Tiny little hurts everyday –where’s your dad, what does your dad do for work, are you a broken family? Until you don’t have to bounce back; the absence has filled a part of you.
Colon cancer, mets, death. My dad was confined and admitted and treated at the best possible hospital, but it made no difference. In a couple of years he was gone.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing a colon cancer patient. The patient and his wife had a strange, optimistic energy despite being back after what they thought was full remission.
Then again, who wouldn’t be full of hope? They’ve been surviving the fight against metastasized cancer for half a decade. Something good is clearly in the works.
And that something good might be faith or luck or genes. But it might also be advancements in medicine. Sometimes the reasons why we die comes down to the times we live in.
I can’t help but draw parallels: in and out of admission, countless surgeries and tests, premium hospital care. But the medicine of yesterday is not today and will not be tomorrow; I have to believe in a future that’s cancer-free.