Live Until You Die

My Mom and Dad are facing a life changing…

My mom and dad are facing a life changing period. Dad is in rehab after radiation to emergency treat tumors that have taken over his brain. In three weeks or so, he will start a trial chemotherapy. What does this mean for mom and dad? They miss each other and they can’t take care of one another right now.

Both of them were talking about how there were really only two options in all of this: stand up or quit. Seems that they have chosen to stand up and fight. They know they are going to lose this battle at some point (we all die) but this challenge has reminded them that they are alive today. This challenge has resulted is a revival of spirit, vim, and vigor.

Dad always said he wouldn’t do chemo again but now he has endured full brain radiation, the rehab from that brain trauma, and is planning for the next round of chemotherapy. He is walking, pushing, lifting, working on speech and memory. He has to be strong for the next step.

What motivated him? I can’t be entirely sure but I know two things: he loves being with mom; and, he doesn’t want to live a less than life. In essence, he has decided to live each day to the fullest until he simply cannot.

Mom had a few surgeries over the last couple of years and kind of settled into a routine that was much slower and less social than before. The beginning of this challenge left her not knowing how to face life without Dad. She kind of spiraled but then something happened. Mom decided that she could still do “stuff”. She started cleaning, washing and taking charge. She started pushing back a bit and lined up a bus for art class again. She found a ride to and from church.

They have decided to live until they die and it was fun this week watching them cheer each other on. Dad says that he is proud of her for standing up instead of wandering into some dark place. Mom is proud of how hard Dad is working and how he has a smile and hope. They know they can’t do everything they used to, they know they are struggling with some age related memory but they have decided to stand up and fight until there is no fight left.

Watching mom and dad adapt, relearn, and laugh is far better than watching them give in. It is one thing to limit yourself (we finally convinced mom to stay off of ladders). It is another thing to limit yourself needlessly by giving in. Funny thing is that sometimes we need life (or someone we love) to push us a bit. It is easy to settle into a routine, to get tired, or to stop dreaming. All of us are going to get older. Some of us already are.

How hard are we willing to fight to enjoy today? How much do we believe in ourselves?

Doug Burrier © 2016

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