Maintaining hope

A diagnosis like cancer turns your whole world upside down. But I’m learning to hold on to hope.

I read something yesterday that said “you can only die once, but to live in constant dread of it is like experiencing it over and over.”

That hit me pretty powerfully. I’ve had some low moments where I’ve spent too much time fearing when my husband will die. There’s no doubt that unless some unforeseen event happens to me first, I will see him die, much sooner than I ever thought possible. I still hold on to an increasing amount of hope that it will be years away, but it’s likely that it will happen at some point.

Instead of spending so much time and mental energy thinking and dreading when that will happen, this has the potential to change my life in the present more than anything ever has.

I am called to be brave, to enjoy his life and our life together more than I might have otherwise. It’s not to say that I don’t already enjoy him and our life together; in fact, I enjoy it so much that the thought of losing it is so painful. But it’s easy in the day to day reality to take things for granted. But now I am called to truly live.

All things considered, he’s tolerating chemo well. He is not a complainer so he is probably minimizing the discomfort and fear that’s surely there. But that also means that so much of our lives are still so normal. We’ve still been able to maintain a sex life, which is pretty remarkable and was once in question. We still have our monthly date nights. He’s still the same incredibly thoughtful husband that he was before.

Essentially, I have two choices: to mourn him while he’s still alive or to embrace life for all its challenges. Choosing the latter is an empowering, very brave thing to do. Knowing that death is lurking in the shadows can make you appreciate life even more.

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