I was deleting some documents from my computer from the past year and I came across several stories that I never got around to sharing with you through this Update. My work exposes me to many meaningful stories related to our Local Cancer Community and I do my best to share as many of them as I can, but honestly, there are just too many (there are times, in fact, it gets rather overwhelming)!!!
A philosophical riddle asks, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Similarly, I ask, “If a story unfolds but no one is there to share it, does the story exist?” 😊
I recall a solo backpack outing several years ago on a stormy night when I heard a tree fall not-so-far in the distance as I laid in my tent. I assure you, it made a sound so loud it echoed in my head for the rest of the night (and kept me wide awake)! When morning arrived, I had a much more appreciative feeling about the night as well as a bit of regret that no one else was with me to appreciate this beautiful yet scary moment. I feel the same way about the stories of the Local Cancer Community, many of which can be both beautiful and a bit scary. And when these stories aren’t properly shared, I feel bad that others aren’t able to appreciate them!
Many of the stories of our Local Cancer Community are fused with love, and joy, and strength, and courage. I especially love those stories! But many of the stories – the bitter-sweet stories that are both beautiful and scary - also involve pain, and suffering, and even death.
We tend to want our stories to have a storybook “happily ever after” ending. But let’s be honest, happily EVER AFTER is only a myth. Eventually, the “ever after” on this earth will come to an end and sadly, for some, that time comes way-too-soon!
As Stephen King once penned, “And will I tell you that these three lived happily ever after? I will not, for no one ever does. But there was happiness. And they did live.”
And yet these stories deserve to be shared. To avoid, disregard, or ignore these stories is to neglect the full experience of being human.
These seemingly tragic stories of death that we often hear, as sad as they may be, are also often fused with love, and joy, and strength, and courage. Often, in the worst of times, when a person is forced to face their own mortality and their loved ones are overwhelmed by the personal grief and despair, they find the strength and the compassion to think of others and how their tragedy can be a positive influence on others.
Consider, for example, this story of Toni Meyer (see related blog entry).