The much-needed talk


I have a relative—a lovely relative—who has gone through medical hell.

Lost her husband to cancer. Was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. Has fought and fought and fought for her health for years, with courage and strength and, most of all, grace. She is one of my true heroes. A role model I wish I could emulate.

The other day we took her dog for a walk. I asked her how she handles the idea of inevitable mortality—a concept any readers of this blog know I struggle with regularly. Her answer was one I’ll never forget. She said upon realizing for the first time that she had cancer, she cried and wallowed and hurt and suffered. Then, at some point, it hit her. Her family was healthy and taken care of. She’d been a good mother; tried raising her two children with the values she deemed most important. Save for the illness, she’d lived a very charmed life—financially comfortable, good jobs, nice vacations, a loving husband, etc. “I thought, “I’ve lived the way I’d want to live,'” she told me. “And it gave me peace.”

She’s been through 8,000 more struggles than I have—yet I envy her outlook.