In contrast to always saying my life is an open book, I once had a friend completely disagree with this statement – as she believed emotionally, I was extremely hard to read.
Well, to be honest, there is much truth to that statement. While my life is an open book, I’m fairly closed when it comes to anything that could possibly make me feel vulnerable and/or weak. However, like I stated in my ‘So live your life’ post, I’m trying to work on breaking down those walls and making myself more susceptible to those less-than-desired feelings.
What most of you know and most of you don’t (friend depending) is that for the past two years, my best friend has been battling cancer. Now, I use the term best-friend loosely, as more accurately it would be my best-friend/neighbor-for-life/little-brother. And yes Nick, if you read this, I’m owning those 4 months in age that put me ahead of you
As my next-door neighbor from birth to high school graduation, and as my next-door neighbor post college graduation, we have taken more baths together than the average married couple (as little kids, of course), engaged in more shenanigans than the average criminal (only kidding… kind of) and have experienced more family outings than the Griswolds. So, needless-to-say, he’s much more than my best friend.
When Nick was first diagnosed with cancer, it was a stage 4 tumor on the side of his neck. While progressive, it was still viewed as curable. He soon underwent Chemotherapy and Intense Radiation, and slowly, the tumor began to shrink. Not too shortly after the doctors deemed the tumor inactive, did Nick start coming down with severe arthritic pain. After many test, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Over the past year, the cancer has slowly spread throughout most of his bones and left him in what I can only imagine to be, severe pain. Unfortunately, this past week, he was rushed to the hospital with a tumor that is attacking and wrapping itself around the spine. Which, in my selfish world, has equated into a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. I can’t help but feel extreme guilt for the tears I have shed, as I know what I’m going through, is nothing compared to that of Nick and/or his family. Moreover, I feel extremely guilty for being in Kansas City, while he’s back In Jefferson City – I hate that I can’t see him more than I do. However, that aside, just like everything else these past two years, I know he will push through this minor set back and continue to fight each and every day. After all, that’s how anything in life is won and/or beaten – Step by step, little by little, day by day – And, I know he has the strength to do just that.
However, Nick’s cancer has been a constant reminder of a mistake I made in my younger days, that I swore to myself I’d never make again.
See, when I was a sophomore in High School, I was supposed to visit a very close friend of mine (kind of like second grandma to me) over the New Year’s weekend. However, this huge party came up and I selfishly made mom change our travel plans for the next weekend. Getting my way, I spent New Year’s Eve partying until the wee hours of the night. The next day, while deservingly hung-over, my mom came downstairs and knocked on my door. When I opened, she told me that the lady we were supposed to go visit had passed away. Absolutely devastated and filled with remorse, It put into light just how much we (as in, all human beings) take advantage of this life that we are given. Moreover, just how self-servingly we live everyday.
So this week, my challenge to everyone who reads this post (myself included), is to physically do something to show someone how much you care. And, in honor of Martin Luther King, it’s only fitting, as I believe the quote goes “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” If you are a mutual friend of ours, then take 30 minutes out of your day to show Nick just how much you care. Or, if you’re in a similar situation with a loved one, do the same – Whether it be a phone call, or a visit – it doesn’t matter, just do it!
Let’s come together and take time out of our day to do something for somebody else.
Let’s: Be. Love.