Well, I jumped in to the world of blogs yesterday. While my original intent was to focus on serious illness, and return it to the serious attention it deserves, I got sidetracked.
How many of you can say you have found some really awesome friends on social media? Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google + or wherever – people you have never met, but feel so close to you feel like you have known them all your life? You cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, rejoice when they rejoice. And mourn when they leave you. So today I mourn. I knew from a post that Jimmy K had been in the hospital. His heart condition was no secret. It was just part of him, like his love for karaoke, and his love for cannoli. But the post Tuesday afternoon that he was better (from his roommate), and would soon be discharged gave hope. It gave no warning to the first thing I would see on my phone yesterday morning – “my husband in Vegas has died”. Wow. His health conditions were no secret, but dead? Gone? Smack. Reality. Ouch.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with the folks in Curing Cancer With a Smile. Trying to give cyber hugs, advice, or just a shoulder. I have time, I can do that. But it struck me forcibly this morning its not just Cancer! It is vital that people put it back in the spotlight – I know. But it is just as vital for EVERY DISEASE THAT TAKES THOSE WE CARE ABOUT AWAY FROM US!
I am old enough to understand that part of life is death. I learned that lesson early, when I lost my dad at age 15. But what bothers me – is that we just go on. We just accept. We plan the funeral, we attend, we leave and go out to lunch and go on. In many ways this is as it should be. After all, life is for the living. But do we use our knowledge? Instead of simply mourning and going on, do we use the anger? The pain? Or do we simply have a pity party, cry a few tears, and go to the game next weekend?
Have you ever read the obituaries? The most obtuse and revealing page in the whole newspaper. “Died suddenly” can mean anything from natural causes to suicide to undiagnosed illness. “Died after a short illness” is usually saved for someone who had a heart attack last Tuesday and there was simply too much damage. “Died after a lengthy illness” – now that’s a broad spectrum statement there. How long do you have to be sick to have a lengthy illness? A week? Month? 6 months? A Year? A lifetime? “Died as a result of…..” usually means accident of some kind. But then there are the generic obits. “John Doe died Tuesday and will be buried Thursday”. Wow. Does that mean he had no family? No friends? Or does that mean he was that old hermit in the big house on the corner that everyone said ate little kids (aw, come on, each and every one of you KNOW that there was a house like that where you grew up!). But unless you live in a large metropolitan area, or it’s just a busy day, Obituaries are usually one page.
On so many levels – we live like ostriches. Bury our heads in the sand when the going gets tough, peeping out to see if it’s over yet. That has to stop. People are not disposable objects we can just discard when they break. Every single name on that obituary page – even the 3 hour old infant – touched a life at some point. Positively, negatively – but in a way that we who remain can LEARN from. That’s why Mike’s blog is so vital. That’s why I started this blog. We can’t be ostriches any more – about a lot of things. We cannot let our fellow-man be disposable.
So I go on. I am treading into places I have never been. But I go with my head held high, my eyes wide open, and my sense of indignation heightened. I step out, because it is something I feel I MUST do. It is my sincere hope that you will share my words – and that maybe they will touch one person. Make a difference in one life. For INDIFFERENCE – is the worst cancer on the planet.