I don't know if any of my readers watch Oprah. In fact, I'm feeling a little embarrassed to ask that question. I watch Oprah. I'm not always interested in her topics but all in all I think she has done more good for the world than bad and I respect that.
I recently watched her show on dying and living with terminal illness. Both guests on the show had cancer, in different forms. I do not know what it is like to live with cancer. I cannot even imagine it. I cried during the show about 5 times at different occasions. There were so many lessons to be learned. I cannot help but to write about them (see below).
A note to my 'loved one' who is living with cancer:
W, I think about you every day and wish that some how I could take it away from you. We have known each other a very long time and I can honestly tell you that you do not deserve to deal with this or any of the other chaos in your life. You are one of the strongest individuals I know. You are one of the most creative individuals I know. Because we are blood I love you. Because we have similar interests I like you. And because of your humor and tenacity I admire you.
Back to Oprah:
Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and apparently he gave his 'last lecture' recently. You can find it here. I haven't watched it in entirety but I saw the abridged version on Oprah. He gave his life lessons and then said that although he realizes that he has touched many people (my words not his) he wrote the lecture for his kids because when he is gone they will see the video.
Prevention is better than treatment. Eat foods that will nourish you and prevent illness. I'd rather eat things that help me than take pills that help me or worse, have surgery.
Experience it. Do now what you have always wanted to do. Why wait?
Exercise. As Brooke told me yesterday, you won't come back from a run wishing you hadn't done it. Amen to that!
Love your loves. Tell and show people how much you love them. One day, like it or not, they will not be there.
For my kids:
My every breath is taken for you. The Niki that I once knew no longer exists. I do not make choices for me anymore; I make them for you. You are my children, I must nurture you, protect you, teach you, love you with all that I am.
Only when you bring a child into the world do you realize how little you matter.
For my friends and family who have moved on, I miss you.
I miss you, Grandma. I wish I could turn back the clock and play games with you again, tell you stories. I wish you knew Max and Madeleine because I know you would love them as much as I do. I know that their smiles would charm the pants off of you. I know that you would have their little faces famed in tiny frames on your mantle. I wish they could sit on the toilet and watch you put all that make up on the way that I did when I was young. It is up to me to give them your life lessons now.
Grandpa, sometimes I forget that you are gone. I don't know why you always seemed to be the one that would stay put for me. I will ditto what I wrote to Grandma for you. Max and Madeleine are missing out on knowing a wonderfully loving man. One who is full of life lessons couched in raunchy stories. I will tell them about you and the boat, about you and the store. I will describe for them your tattoos that Wendy and I loved so much, oh how we talked about them and discussed which design was on what arm. When I step foot in a body shop or merely walk by one I am reminded of you. That smell will always be recognizable in my brain.
Mary, I cannot believe you have been away for as long as you have. You taught me more than you knew. My regret is that you were the glue that bound Skip and I together. You have gone and he is slipping away from me.
Jane, why did you go so young? You were a talented and beautiful child. I'm still so saddened that your pain took you away from here. If you could have seen that teen angst is temporary. You had a lot to give. You live in my heart and I see your face in every single one of my students. You have taught me more than you would have ever known.
Grandma Thea, I wish we had known each other. I have few memories of you but from what every one tells me my life would have been richer if you had stayed in it a bit longer.
The Kathys: There is an empty place in the world from each of your passings. Both of you taken to soon. Your memory lives on in so many people who loved you and cared about you.