Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh, the people you'll meet...

As I drove to work today, the sun was rising behind the ridge, smearing great rose colored streaks across a sky filled with fat, cottony, pink and purple clouds.  Thinking.  Wishing.  Missing all the amazing people I've "met" who can no longer share such a sky with me....and fervently dreaming that somehow....they could.  Never have I met such a kind, generous, life loving, beautifully positive group.  Andy. Randi. Mike Brockey. Hillary Quinn Kind. Meagan MacPhee. Shellebrownies' Don. 9TS. Jillian. Eric of EricnJill. Gavin Snow. The words and videos that these amazing spirits and their loved ones have so generously shared with all of us provides enough inspiration and life lessons to cure most of the world's ills, if we would but listen.

Yet, some comments have hurt my heart of late. They are meant with kindness, I know. Or, intended as words of encouragement by those who don't know what else to say. At times spoken, perhaps, out of fear, by those in the midst of their own battles.  It is always something like:  "If you stay positive, you can beat this."  OR: "People with upbeat attitudes live longer." 

Most people who know me would never suppose I am anything but positive and optimistic. Not that I am hiding the moments when I'm down.  I simply choose to be positive and hopeful most of the time.  I have even been berated for being ridiculously "hopeful" in the face of my diagnosis.  My husband's pet name for me is "Bubbles" due to my [supposed] ebullient personality.  But, my admitted over sensitivity to these remarks hinges on this....when you say things like the phrases I could be implied that those who lost their battle with melanoma must have somehow lost their spark, their positivity, their good, fighting attitude.  And, I KNOW that is just not the case.

As much as we would like to truly believe that positivity can overcome anything and some studies demonstrate a beneficial effect from the "laughter is the best medicine" sort of thing.  Many books and studies out there prove otherwise. David Rakoff,  the incredibly funny, journalist and writer (1964-2012) talks about many of them in his book "Half Empty".  He experienced 18 months of chemo and radiation at the age of 22 when diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, only to have a tumor that eventually took his life recur in his shoulder and metastasize.  Perhaps, he said it best in an interview with John Stewart.  "There was a study that showed that the long term mortality of people with lousy attitudes is no different from people with great attitudes.  So, you can be the worst bastard on the ward and you will not die at any greater rate than the other people.  People will simply be gladder when you do!"

I don't intend to give up on hope or positivity.  Heck!  I don't want make myself and all the people around me feel miserable!  I guess this is my long, ranting way of saying I begrudge the implication by anyone, that these amazing people were any less determined, confident, positive, hopeful, fighters than any of those among us just because they are no longer here.

Oh, the people I was lucky enough to "meet".  I am proud to have known you all.  You touched my heart. You taught me much.

I will always remember.

I will try to live my life with as bright a spirit as each of you. - c

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I try to look at the sunny side as much as possible! And no, I'm not always successful, and no, it's not going to lengthen my life! But, I do think it will give me a better quality of life and give those close to me a better quality of life as well!