Life Is a Funny Monkey
My Aunt Olivia used to say, "Life is a funny Monkey." Growing up, I didn't really understand what that meant. But as the years passed, I came to understand that saying clearer than ever.
What it meant was that you can be strolling along in life-and out of nowhere-life will throw you a curveball that will take your breath away.
I've had many storms in my life that I have weathered rather well; however, there have been a few that have taken my breath away and left me emotionally paralyzed.How one weathers the storm
Cancer and lupus and other health challenges have caused me to stumble on several occasions. It's difficult to feel horrible every single day. It's heart-wrenching to have chronic pain be your daily alarm clock.
However, regardless of the health challenges, I face them daily with the grace of a woman and not with the grief of a child.
Last night, I was a witness to a storm, one that I would say would be a category six. A dear friend of mine had been on my mind. I called her job, and they said that she was on vacation. The moment I heard those words I knew that it was a lie.
I called her, and there was no answer; so, I emailed her. At 10:01, as I was taking a stroll through Instagram, a message from her popped up.
In my email, I explained to her that the moment I heard that she was on vacation, I knew that it was a lie. She laughed, and the words that followed crashed into my heart like a head-on collision. The heaviness of the information caused an overflow of tears.
A category six storm
"They were lying," she said, and followed that up with a LOL and then, "I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer," followed her LOL. "Call Me."
As I picked up the phone to call her I became panic-stricken with the burden of knowledge that a record-setting category 6 storm was brewing, and I wasn't sure how devastating it would be.
As she answered the phone, I could tell that the tear-jerking thunderstorm had already begun. She spoke in a raspy whisper and said, "Hi Max, how are you doing?" I said, "No, how are you doing?" With a tear-flooded voice, she uttered, "I have breast cancer, and I'm not going to make it."
My heart fluttered and the tears flowed. Windshield wipers large enough to handle a Mack truck couldn't clear my now-cloudy vision.
I cried for three reasons: For her, for her family, and for the gaping hole that I knew would be left in her parent's hearts. She is the apple of everyone's eye. She never met a stranger, she has a heart of gold. She's just a solid person. She has been with me throughout my entire cancer journey.
As I spoke with her, we laughed, we cried (and I'm not really big on crying out loud but I did). As we hung up, she requested that I call her today, and I will.
Three takeaways from the storm
However, after speaking with her, I thought about three things. First, I thought about how fragile life is and how we allow things with little to no substance to consume us. We allow the stuff that doesn't fertilize anything to cover our lives, and we act as if we don't smell the stench.
Second, I thought about how we hold onto our dreams with the jaws of life, waiting for the perfect timing, the money, the connections, and we just wait. Sometimes we wait so long that our dreams turn into bones, and the bones turn into dust, and we wither away. Many have taken their dreams to their graves. There are countless dreams buried in cemeteries. Stop dreaming and start doing.
Third, I thought about this deadly disease that is taking lives quicker than a popsicle melts. I thought about how many people this year alone that have called me to talk about their diagnoses and to ask how they should proceed moving forward.
Life is fleeting, and life is a funny monkey. So, live it to the fullest.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?