Death and cancer bring things into perspective.

Streetluge was their passion.  The thrill of cruising at ridiculous speeds down steep hills, maneuvering around tight corners was unexplainable to mortal men.  It was an adrenalin rush second to none.  Father and Son was getting ready for another run on a perfect summer’s day. They checked their gear and Dad adjusted his Go-Pro camera; they were ready to roll.  They have done several hills like this one and the excitement was tangible.  There was a high-five and off they went.  His son went first.  Adrenalin surged through their bodies, almost blinding them, making them scream out of pure exhilaration.

His son’s board slipped.  His head hit the road.  Very hard.  Much too hard.  The board didn’t stop.  His son did.  He struggled to get of his own board.  He ran towards his boy.  Lifted him onto his lap.  But his only child was already gone…He sat in shock and disbelief, even when the ambulance took him away. He was only 15.   Why?

She was on holiday, a deserving rest, a break from the stress of daily life.  She found a lump.  A week later she woke up after surgery.  The diagnoses: A full mastectomy and the news that she most probably would have to undergo a few chemo sessions.  She has been clean for 33 years, she’s 64.  Why?

An inevitable reaction when tragedy struck.  A mystery that remains unsolved.  Why?  Why?  Why?

Bad things happen to everyone and in most cases it strikes unexpectedly.  A Tsunami surging through your existence, leaving you desolate in a desert of despair; trying to make sense through all the loss, grief, pain and tears that suddenly fills your being.  Trying desperately to find strength to get up.  The energy to move on.

***

I’m the eternal optimist.  My glass is never half full, my glass is just too big for the amount of liquid.  There’s always space for more juice.  We don’t read newspapers, we don’t watch CNN.  We don’t like true-life movies and we certainly don’t care for bad news.  We cry during Big Hero Six.  Every single time.  We believe in the power of words, in positive thinking and the fact that the human spirit can soar and conquer anything.  The word CAN’T doesn’t exist in our vocabulary.  We always look at the bright side of life.  We are annoyingly optimistic, until the wind is knocked from our lungs when life bitch-slaps someone close to us.

I started this blog when our community lost two young fathers unexpectedly in 2012.  It was two incidents that changed my life forever.  Moments that made me evaluate my own fragile existence, something that sucked the joy right out of my soul.

It’s easy to talk about being positive.  It’s easy to tell people nothing is bigger than the human spirit. Especially when you’re not the one lying on the floor with a bloody nose and bloodshot eyes.  Your beaten body aching with pain and suffering.  When it’s not your life lying in a million shattered pieces, knowing it can never be the way it was before.  When the reason for getting up doesn’t exist anymore.

It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to encourage people who are living through dark days. We have to. They need our mouth for encouraging words, our arms to help them up, our ears to listen to their heart’s cry and our shoulders for them to lean on.

I know a father who still gets up every morning without his son.  He doesn’t regret anything.  I know a granny who’s recovering from a serious procedure ready for the chemo sessions that is going to follow.  They are not giving up, bruised but not beaten.  And it’s heartbreaking.  And it’s inspirational.  They’re moving on, albeit slowly, achingly but still moving on. Taking it day by day.

One cannot remain unchanged when you witness another person trying to find their way through a maze of very bad things.  It’s called compassion and uniquely human.  Hearing about these tragedies makes one sit up straight, makes you take stock, so to speak.  It’s moments that makes us aware of what we have.  It makes us aware of all the shitty, arbitrary things we complain about every day.  Those ancient resentment issues we’re all harboring.  It provides us with a moment to re-asses our own life.  Our existence on earth.  Our role as a father, husband, friend.

It’s a call to live life thoroughly.  To grab each day by the horns and run with it.  Not allowing the wild horses to pass us, but for us to leap onto the stallion’s back, digging our fingers into its flowing mane and hold on as you run like the wind.  Even if there is a possibility that you might get thrown off,  the fear of failure should NEVER be more than the thrill of being alive.

So ask yourself: Do you live enough?  Do you love enough?  Do you hug enough?  Do you smile enough?  Do you give thanks enough? Do you acknowledge each day as a gift and make it your mission to make it the best one yet?

The awful truth about life is that no-one knows if today is going to be your last one.  We should all get some perspective every now and then; just to figure out what is really important and what is BS.

For life changing moments are just a heart beat away.

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10 thoughts on “Death and cancer bring things into perspective.

  1. I am not sure what the reason Pieter, but for the past while in my life, I have tried to do a much better job at living, loving, smiling & letting those around me know how very much I love them. I think I have always been an optimistic person but the older I get, the more I realise how much wasted energy it takes to deal with all of the negative. A very insightful post, one we all need to be reminded of, to live each & every day we are gifted, to its’ fullest!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I so understand this Pieter. As you know I wrote a piece a few weeks back as we were experiencing the tragedies you speak of with friends & loved ones. There are no words to convey to someone going through such a horrible time. We just need to stand by, offer whatever love we can & catch them when they fall.

        Liked by 1 person

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