My 79-year-old father told me recently regarding my recent cancer diagnosis, “Tara, I wish I could have your diagnosis instead of you. If it is your time to go, I wish I could go instead of you.” His words touched me deeply and honestly, I know exactly what he meant. When I watched my closest friend of 19 years slowly decline over 22 months from Acute Myeloid Leukemia, at times I wished I could take her pain and suffer instead of her. I did everything I could to save her, started a fundraiser that brought in 50K and showed up to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, it was not her fate to live beyond her short 46 years. My dad’s words sparked the inquiry about why we young people are selected to embark upon a journey with a life threatening illness while others skirt easily to their 80th year without their roots being shaken by sickness. Why did my dearest friend die so young? Why is one of my other closest friends/family members of the same age struggling with a serious cancer diagnosis? Why have our worlds been turned upside down to find the solution to living beyond our 50th birthday? Life is indeed mysterious and there often seems to be no rhyme or reason why we’re selected to walk a certain path.
In the challenging times, I curse getting to know the grim reaper so intimately. I choose to be grateful to realize how precious life is, even with death dancing so close to my face. My astrologer friend tells me it is no wonder I am becoming friends with death as I have four major planets in the house of Scorpio (death, sex, transformation); there is no avoiding this path in this lifetime.
I choose to see the beauty of this twisted path. At times I weep that my dearest girlfriend is gone and I can’t call her during the rough moments. I am learning that releasing the raw emotions such as rage, sorrow and grief are extremely important especially when the tumor dwells right over my heart. One must release the stuck emotions to allow the body to heal.
I am thankful to my father for his generous words and accept that this is my path and mine alone to walk. Though it may feel stark at times, I have friends and family who love and support me. I forge ahead, one step in front of the other, embracing each day as it comes.
*Hop on Pop! The above photo was taken at our families home in Kauai circa 1981
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