I am noticing lately that I have been looking and feeling more like what Ben would do in a certain situation. How he would look at the positive and breakthrough the sadness to help himself and others. That is where the courage comes in. That is where attitude and integrity come out on top. Imagine you were told you have less than a year to live. How would you react? How would you get through each day? What would you want to do? Where would you put your priorities? Ben had to face that, point blank. He chose to have as normal a life as possible. He wanted to continue going to school for as long as possible and see his friends. I'm sure he felt that coming home was difficult at times because he would have to face talking about doctors, taking his pills, going to the next radiation session. It takes courage to deal with all that and still smile and laugh. He didn't avoid facing it at all, he just chose to put the positive ahead of all the challenges. Try doing that as an adult...even more impossible to do that as a child. Often, we don't have control of how things will unfold. What we do have control over is how we choose to face these events, challenges and obstacles. We often don't know how much courage we have until something happens where we have to dig deep and find that positive energy. Many people don't have to face tough challenges, others have nothing but one challenge after the other, yet still others have a bit of both and never show the challenges they face. All require courage, hope and a positive attitude.
Another thing I've learned from all this is that the things we worry about really don't matter. The essential is health, family and friends. We so often take those things for granted. We get caught up on diets, trying the latest cleanse, antioxidants, healthy fads... etc. Sure there is some merit to those things but in the end it may not make a difference. Cancer doesn't pick and choose who's fit, at the right weight. If you're going to get cancer, then you are. Of course, I'm not at all saying everyone will. It reminds me of a guy I met at the Cancer Agency when my mother was getting treatment for lymphoma. I was in the library and started talking to him. He had cancer but he was fit...he ran marathons, always ate organic and was at the perfect weight. Yet he had cancer. Yes, take care of yourself as much as possible but don't go to the other side of the spectrum and deprive yourself of the food you like because it might cause problems.
I went for a bike ride on Saturday for the first time in over a year. It took a lot of courage to do that without Ben, but it was good to do things that he and I did. The warm weather has been difficult especially with everything that went on last year at this time. I've been told, "it's what he would've wanted" but it's easier said than done. I know there's a time when I will accept that but the emotional attachment is the difficult part that holds me back. Yet, I'm starting to look into myself through Ben's eyes and push myself. Im trying to remember the happy things we shared and trying to think less of the difficult few months he (we) had before he left us.
Hug your kids, visit, text, call or email your friends and be kind without expecting anything in return. Life is too short.