Life is Painfully Short and Cancer Sucks!

Life is so short. So unfair. Cancer is one of the worst and most unjust ways to die...

Many years ago...nearly a lifetime ago, I'd spent six years dating a guy in high school. I'd loved him greatly despite times my family disapproved. Mostly of my own doing - a catalyst of my newly rebellious nature coinciding with our relationship. They never knew he had nothing to do with that except by encouraging me to be myself. I was merely testing the waters of a teenage life. Eventually, life had other plans and we were meant to travel down different paths. I'd spent 6yrs with him. My first legit love. So of course I'd always hoped we'd remain friends for it would be wrong to waste those 6yrs and not even have a friendship to show for it. We'd always promised to be friends. Unfortunately, the next woman in his life didn't hold that same belief. I've seen him only by accident - at a distance. He's respected her request and erased me and our promises. So I respected his choice and remained forever at a distance.

Several years later, I'd also been in another relationship. A 3yr marriage. Except it had become unpleasant. He was never home and became moody...unpredictable. Friends and video games were his lover. I was a mistress locked away in the shadows. His unpredictability had evolved into increases in temper. I'd feared for myself and our Daughter and so I filed for divorce. What happened was something I never expected that changed my entire future. That is another story for another day. Point is, during my divorce the parents of my 6yr relationship supported me. They were there for me when nearly everyone, including many in my own family, abandoned me. Both his mother and sister-in-law were there in the courtroom. Never have I forgotten their unexpected kindness and support.

Fast forward a few years. I've still kept in touch with his parents. We hug with smiles. Say farewell with "I love you". It was always a comfort. Then suddenly, their son became ill. Not the one I dated - it was his older brother. The illness was cancer. This isn't my first experience with cancer. My grandmother died February 3rd 2005 of Uterine cancer. My Aunt recently had a single mastectomy due to breast cancer. All I know is that cancer sucks. It's a cruel vampire that sucks the life out of all involved. It's such a cruel disease that I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy. Just as with my grandmother and aunt, his was unexpected and the harsh reality of death was always lingering in the shadows. So many prayers. So much hope. Yet around 3am this morning, he lost his battle.

The first thing I saw in my Facebook newsfeed this morning was the status informing of his passing as posted by his Mother. My first thought was, "

OMG! No! No! No!

" I can't imagine the pain and heartache they are all feeling. To lose a son, husband, father and brother...I'm so very sorry for them all. There's nothing I can say or do to make them feel better. I know this. There is no comfort in an unjust or untimely death, but their family is strong and I know they will adapt and endure. The most tragic part is he leaves behind a loving wife and son. A wife who has the support and love of his family, but will no longer have a husband to provide for her. A son who must now grow up without his father. Sadly, he's at the age where there is no mercy from the sadness...too old to not remember the loss. I guess the only blessing at this age is to have known him as his father rather than through photographs and stories from others.

I have learnt a valuable lesson in this too. His mother had requested via Facebook message that I call her so we could get together and I provide my photographic services. I'd had no idea he was so close to death. I'd been so excited, but replied to let me know the best time to call. I just didn't want to wake them or disturb them knowing the stress they were under. I now feel unbelievably deep guilt for not calling despite worries that I'd disturb them. For in my not rushing faster to provide the memories as requested, I have failed them. I've offered her post-mortem portraits, but even such a memorial will never ease my conscious. You can't turn back time or provide what is lost. Yet, my guilt is nothing compared to the pain his family must now endure as they plan and hold the funeral of their beloved member. Taken away so unexpectedly. I have been in a sad daze all day as I try to make sense of what happened and figure out what I can do to help them.

I've posted this to share the lesson I've learned with others:

Life is so painfully short. Don't ever assume anything can be done at another time. Seize every moment of every day. Create memories. Capture memories. At any unexpected moment, the chance could be gone forever...don't ever wait.

I've kept this family private, so ask readers to respect this as well. Pray for them. Comment and they will see. Most of all, send prayers their way for this was still sudden.

JournalAmber Flowers