Tragedy happens, people get sick, and yet we never expect it to happen to us. The day I was told I had brain cancer, I was shocked. Although I was not fearful of whatever laid ahead, it did put a lot of things in perspective for me. Most know that I try my best every day to live in gratitude. I didn’t always live that way. If I would have continued to live with the negative mindset I once had, I may not have gotten through my journey with cancer the way that I did. Most people have said that I made it with such grace and made it look so easy, while inside I was doing my best to focus on the good. The truth is that I never felt so awful in my life. Not once did I blame the cancer. I blamed all the medication and the chemo. Cancer didn’t hurt me, at all. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even known it was there. Was this a lesson in strength and patience for me? You bet! The entire experience showed me how strong I am as well as taught me that patience is a must in life. There isn’t much in our control, so while we wait for what we want we should embrace the journey, despite all circumstances.
In the last month, I have lost two friends to cancer and have had others diagnosed with it. I found myself suffering from survivor’s guilt, which I never knew was a thing. When my cheerleader, Steve, passed away from cancer, I asked God why He took him and left me here. Steve was a light in the radiation waiting room. He was finishing up radiation and starting clinical trials when we met. He always had positive things to say and would uplift the entire room. He was finished with radiation about a week before I was. What amazed me was that he remembered when my last day was and waited for me in the waiting room with the gift of an angel. He didn’t know at the time what I did for a living. He gave me a huge hug of congratulations. We exchanged numbers and kept in touch. He would always send me positive and uplifting texts reminding me to keep the faith and always shine my light. When I recently reached out to him, he didn’t respond. My gut was telling me that something was wrong. When I reached out again, his wife used his phone and texted me back saying Steve wasn’t doing well. He did manage to send me one more text where he called me sunshine, as he always did. I’ve kept the text. Only a short time after, my intuition made me go to his Facebook page to see that he had passed the day before.
A few weeks later I found out that a friend, Cherie, had passed away. She has left this world with a remarkable staple of giving as a nurse. They eyes of her children and husband looked so sad at their great loss. I found myself asking the same question: “God, why her and not me?”
The answer is, it is not my time. And I am finding a way to be OK with that. Every day I am a little closer to achieving it. I strive to have their inspiration motivate me to inspire others as well as myself. Neither of them ever gave up.
What if it was my time? What if it was your time? What if God decided to call you Home today? Could you honestly look back at your life and be proud? What regrets would you have? Did you love enough? Were you grateful for the life you had? Have you forgiven others as well as yourself? Did you have fun and enjoy life? Did you make the best of every situation? Did you hug enough? Were you brave? Did you step out of your box and try new things or stay stuck in a boring or miserable situation? Did you leave a positive mark on the lives of those around you? Did you share? Did you spread kindness? Would they be proud of you? How did you treat people? Did you give enough? Would you be able to say that your spirit would rest in peace?
I loved reading all the comments from Steve’s loved ones and how awesome he was. I loved the stories shared at Cherie’s memorial service about how giving and kind she was. Both were inspirations to so many people. And I am forever grateful for their presence in my life.
Go live fully, in the moment. Be giving, kind and compassionate, always!
Amy Musser, a Hellertown resident, is a spiritual adviser and owner of The Angel Whisperer based at Sacred Space in Hellertown. She was diagnosed with grade 3 astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer, in 2016. She documents her progress fighting the disease and shares inspiration on Facebook.