The only two words in my journal one month after I lost my three-year-old son.
Of course, in my journal, the word was spelled out in capital letters across the whole page. It was the only thought I could express that day. The only feeling I had. Feelings of sadness, anger, helplessness, against something I had so little control.
Today, eighteen months after losing my baby boy, having these eighteen months to grieve, to process, and to grow, I have been thinking very differently about those two words.
I was sitting with a few of my girlfriends over the weekend, one having just lost her mother-in-law, another discussing her husband’s loss of his brother, the other sympathizing as she had also lost close family to the same fate. Each of us, dear friends since childhood, each with our own unique story, each affected so closely and so deeply by the same affliction.
I read an article in a science magazine about how cancer is the universe’s way of ensuring humanity does not find a way to live forever. I am a big believer in the great and powerful universe. I know that we all have a time to live and a time to die. And we all certainly learn from our suffering, and we all get to make a choice every day whether we are going to be victims or survivors. I certainly don’t want to live forever, but that doesn’t mean I will go without a fight.
As I thought about this article, and I thought about each of my three girlfriends, who each suffered their own great losses and own battles with the terrible fate that is and can be cancer, I thought about what that disease, that one ailment, has done for humanity.
For just one minute, I thought about the hundreds of thousands of women who ban together to walk every year to fight against breast cancer. I thought about the small non-profit organization that helped my family while my son was sick, and all the members of my community that chipped in to lend a hand when we felt hopeless. I thought about the doctors, researchers, nurses and medical staff who spend countless hours helping to heal this great wound. And I thought about the survivors. Those people who beat the odds and make this world a more beautiful place because of it.
Then I thought about the senseless killing that happens in our own back yards each and every day. We, as human beings, choose to hurt one another because of irrational fear, uneducated opinions, unsolicited hatred.
We fight each other, when we could be collectively fighting that one thing that could potentially kill each and every one of us, and kills thousands of innocent, beautiful, valuable lives every single day.
When it is my time to go, and I believe that time is a long, long way off, I will not go without a fight. And until that day, I will choose to fight for what is right and what is just. I will fight to help humanity find love and peace, and ultimately survive.