Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Two Facts and One Big Question

There are certain things in life or habits that we pick up as a result of being around certain people for long periods of time.  When I got down to San Antonio in July I bought myself a little notebook.  It’s cheap and the pages are glued in to the binding.  I open and close this notebook a lot and some of the pages are coming out in clumps so I’ve taken to using tape to reattach the pages to the binding.  I stuff loose pieces of paper and post-it notes about things I find intriguing or questions I need answers to, and then this morning it hit me.  My grandmother had a little book that she used as both an address book and for some notes.  She had it for years and eventually took to using a rubber band to keep it together…mine isn’t quite that worn. (Thanks for allowing me to have my personal bi-centennial minute)

Anyway, I was going through my notebook and one sheet of paper fell out and it had two statements.  The statements are…”Everybody Dies” and “But note everyone lives”.   Here’s the big question…”Why?”   After I caught my breath, I began thinking about how powerful these statements are standing alone, but when you put them together into one, “Everyone dies, but not everyone lives”, the enormity of that statement is frightening.  It doesn’t really surprise me, but when you think about how many people are really “living”, but simply existing there’s a profound sense of sadness.

I guess that’s why it took me by surprise when I first started doing this work that so many of the clients/participants would talk about their diagnosis as a gift.  It wasn’t about the quantity of time left in their life, but the quality of the time left in their life.  It punctuated Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying”.  What if we lived that way before we had a health challenge?  What would life be like for you now?  I’ve heard many people discuss their lives as black and white before the diagnosis and full of color following their diagnosis.  It’s kind of like the movie, “Pleasantville”, where everyone turned to color when they started “feeling”.

So are you living and not merely existing?  What are you doing and how are you feeling that lets you know you’re alive?  What gives you life?  I’m not merely speaking about health, but what brings you to life?  What excites you?  What part of you is infectious (and I don’t mean medically?) I hope you’ll share your journey with us!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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