“It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it. No one else can give it to you or deny it to you. No rival can steal it from you. And no friend can give it to you. Others can encourage you to make the right choices or discourage you. But you choose.”
I am not a Republican. And I believe that both the Republican and Democratic parties are fractured. That being said, there are a few mavericks (from both parties) who, in my opinion, are solid, respectable, and honorable. One of them is a war hero. Was a war hero.
He died today, at the age of 81 – after a formidable battle with an insidious form of metastatic brain cancer. It was most definitely not his first battle, but sadly his last.
He would have made a great President. One to be proud of.
R.I.P. Senator John McCain
“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.” ― Author Unknown
Life is precious.
Our journey in life is finite, which is why it’s so important to appreciate each day, to savor what we have and whom we surround ourselves with. A sunny day, a fresh rainfall, the sound of trees swaying in a summer breeze… these are the things we sometimes take for granted.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
I have a handful of friends and family members who wake up each morning, prepared to fight the battle of their lives, just so they can live another day… be with the people they love, do the things they most enjoy. Their enemy? Cancer. These people have become warriors and their spirits shine through their resolve. They are acutely aware of how truly precious life is.
Recently, a colleague was diagnosed with Stage II Parkinson’s Disease. This diagnosis has rocked his world… and not in a good way. Suddenly, the time he thought he had ― to do the things he needed and wanted to do ― has been ripped away from him. A man who is always in control now finds himself out of control. He is scrambling to reprioritize and to figure out how to prolong the inevitable. And he makes sure to tell his children, each day, how much he loves them.
Yesterday, we (my husband and I) received shocking news that a former colleague had died this past December ― of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He was a good, vibrant, intelligent man. His wife and two children, family and loads of friends mourn his loss.
Yes, life is precious.
Don’t waste one singular moment.
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” ― Jack London, American Author
When I was young, I used to roll my eyes and shake my head at them – not really heeding their words.
Or so I thought.
They’ve since passed, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them.
Most importantly, their words – often colourful and humorous, but always spot-on – resonate deeply with me today.
I now share them with you.
My mother used to say:
“I may be small, but I’m strong.”
My mother was 4’11” tall. She was “petite” but fierce. Her hands, though small, were strong. As wayward children, we knew her vice grip well. She could beat a 6′ tall burly man in an arm wrestling match. But her eyes, oh those eyes. When she was angry, her eyes were like steel and ice. And if that gaze was directed at one of us, we knew we were in deep trouble. She didn’t have to utter a word. Just one look.
Throughout her life, she suffered a series of debilitating illnesses – from brain clots, osteoporosis, and heart problems to multiple cancers. She was always in pain, but rarely showed it. She whistled through it. She laughed at it. She refused to succumb to it. She despised weakness and was damned if she was going to let anyone see her vulnerable.
When she experienced a life challenge – physical, emotional, family related or economic – she bore it defiantly… almost like daring it to bring her down. Except that it never did.
Even at the very end of her life, with cancer festering rapidly throughout her small body, she looked at me – smiling and loving eyes penetrating my soul – and she said “My darling girl, don’t cry for me. I’ll be fine.” She was 79. I was 45. I was not fine. I was losing the most precious person in my life.
In the years since, I’ve experienced some interesting life challenges. Friends and family have expressed their amazement at how stoically I’ve handled myself, how strong and resilient I am.
I’ve had a good teacher.
“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.”