Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Death, Dying and Living.

Over the last few years death, dying and living has hit home way too close when it comes to my family and friends. After a night of dreams filled with those I love who have passed, I woke to an article about an 18 year old boy in Minnesota who's life ended on May 20th after his courageous battle with osteosarcoma.

Lying in bed this morning, I read the article from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser...and followed the links to Zach Sobiech's two YouTube videos. When he was told he had only a few months to live, his mother suggested he start writing letters to those he loves. Instead, Zach started writing music, and his song "Clouds" garnered millions of views on YouTube. Not long before his death, Soul Pancake, did a YouTube documentary on Zach..."My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech." This video is a little over 22 minutes, but it's very worth watching. I ask that you take the time to watch this video on this amazing young man, and then continue to read my blog post. **side note** grab your tissues.

While watching this video I was in awe at the spirit of this young man in the face of such an awful thing. He chose not to let his diagnosis be a death sentence, but to be a reason to live his life to its fullest. To see how he touched so many people by just being himself is a testament to letting who you truly are shine through.
I feel like most people, myself included, tend to dwell on the negative things that fill our day to day lives. It's easy to get bogged down by the stresses of work, home and the myriad of activities we choose to involve ourselves in. But when it comes right down to the brass many things we are involved in, how hard we work, how clean our house is and how big of meals we make aren't the things that define us. It's how in the face of not only happiness but adversity as well...we handle ourselves.
In the face of what some would take as a death sentence, this young man chose to continue living his life the way he always had. I can only imagine being his parents, or siblings or even his friends...watching him go day to day with grace and dignity. I wish that I could say in the same situation that I'd treat the rest of my days in the same way he did. But I think deep down I know that wouldn't be the case.
A few years back Tim McGraw recorded the song "Live Like You Were Dying." And while I watched this video that song was playing softly in my mind. It's funny how some people take the news of a terminal illness as a license to live your life to its fullest. Why does it take that? Shouldn't we live every day like it is our last? What would the quality of our lives be if we treated each day like this?
Talking to Michael the other day, I told him that I'd give up our home, everything that we have right now just to have him. To have our life when we first met. Young love is one of the most amazing things to happen. And it seems that as your time together goes a tend to lose a bit of that fire, that excitement that seems to be around every corner when you first meet. Now, we've let the day to day stresses tax our lives and push us away from just enjoying each other. And when that happens...its not as easy to just go back to it.
I've lost quite a few people in my life over the past few years, and this has made me reflect on my own life and how I'm living each day. It's amazing how dreams play into our daily lives, and how this morning I saw the article on this young man. He is such an inspiration, seeing how he didn't let this weigh him down, he let it lift him and the people around him up.
While losing someone you love is never easy, I look back on the people I've lost and think about how much they've influenced me. My maternal grandmother raised 12 children, my paternal grandmother raised 4 children and helped run my grandfather's business. These two women were such strong influences in my life because they raised families while supporting the ones they loved. My paternal grandfather worked hard all his life, and the only reason he stopped was because cancer made him to weak to. My maternal grandfather worked many years as a migrant worker and farm hand to put food on the table for his large family.
Its our choice as human beings to be happy and live our lives to the fullest. It's also our choice to let all the negative things pile up and affect not only ourselves...but the people around us. It brings to mind a quote by Dolly Parton:
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!"
Are you going to let the rain bog you down? Or are you going to run out into it and jump in the puddles like a kid? Zach chose to jump in the puddles, and the rainbow for him was being with his friends and family up until the end. So I challenge you to look at your life, and if you are in the middle of a monsoon...remember that the clouds are going to break at some point. With that in mind, choose to jump in the puddles.

Until next time...Keep Cookin! And jump in those puddles!

1 comment:

  1. Brian,
    I managed to watch the whole video. A good lesson for me today as I spend 10 hours with a oh-so-alive two year old. I'm just following his lead, laughing a lot and not worrying about anything.
    Look up a poem called "The Life of a Day". Hugs,