Lessons from Lou

This blog is about my journey through the brain tumor world with my dear husband, Lou. While not a journey I would wish on even my worst enemy, it is a journey that has enlightened and awakened me to what lies within us, and around us, each and every moment of each and every day. There are lessons here....lessons in this journey.....lessons from Lou....that I would like to share with you.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Picture of Lou (sick) and I at a party, circa 2005, long ago and faraway. I'm now a middle aged widow, trying to get my life back together. Mother of two young adult sons, living with two adult cats.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lessons From Cancer

As I sat in traffic on my way up to my niece's house the other day , I thought alot about what the whole thing taught me. The journey we were on. The last four years. The cancer thing. I look back at pics of me from 4-5 years ago and realize I was a baby. I knew nothing. I thought I knew alot. Thought I had it all. How wrong I was. Because all that, is gone. And now, I wonder, what does that mean, "to have it all?". And, did I really lose it all? And, if I lost it all, what did I gain, in it's place? I know I gained alot. As difficult as it is to say it, I gained alot from losing Lou. From the process of losing Lou. Now, I find myself drawing upon these lessons each and every day, as we find ourselves on another cancer journey. A different one for sure, but a cancer journey, again. I hate cancer. I don't think I hate anything as much as I hate cancer. And it's everywhere. There must be a reason, but heck if I know what it is. Is God trying to tell us something? What is it? I know what God told me. I know the lessons I learned from this disease. And I'm not going to forget them. I won't let myself. Maybe that's why I find myself thrown into another cancer journey, to make sure I don't forget the lessons??? Hey, I promise, I won't forget them. I'll leave them here, so I won't forget them. Again, I wish I could make this type appear like a list. So sorry. l. Cancer teaches you to be strong. Stronger than you ever thought possible. Comes in handy now and then. 2. Cancer showed me the good in people. All sorts of people. Where you least expect it. Strangers. There are still alot of good people in the world. Why does it take cancer to bring it out? 3. Cancer teaches you to let go. So many things we cling to thinking we have to. We don't. It's good to let go. It opens you to deal with what is before you. It opens you to deal with what comes next. It opens you to new possibilities. 4. We are all in this together. The human condition. I have met so many incredible people through cancer that I never would have met. People from all walks of life. They have each enriched my life in countless ways. 4. I've said this so many times before, and it sounds so cliche, but honestly, somebody really DOES have it worse. I was dumbfounded by the burdens so many people were carrying while dealing with the same brain tumor Lou had. SO many people have it worse. It's not a cliche. It's true. 5. Cancer teaches you to play the hand you are dealt. There is no other choice of course. HOW you play it is the choice. 6. When you've walked through the valley of death, you can face anything. Anything. Nothing scares me now. If you've dealt with cancer, you can pretty much deal with anything. 7. Cancer brought us all closer together. And it's doing it again. Why does it take something this awful to make us realize what we have. This is perhaps the one lesson I do forget. It's so easy to just go along our merry ways without thinking about what really matters. 8. We have to help each other, more. If your life is good, you need to lend a hand to someone else. We just have to, it's that simple. So many people helped us. So many people are helping Robyn. 9. You never know what's on someone's plate. You never know what burden they might be carrying. Be careful. Be watchful. Be kind. 10. Things do get better. Life does go on. We are supposed to live, again. If we don't, we have wasted the journey, and the lessons. I said earlier that I was going to try to go back and pull out the "greatest hits" of this blog but I don't think I will. It's too hard. I'll keep writing miscellaneous random thoughts until the end of the month. Cancer taught me to grab hold of life. Guess it's time.


Anonymous Tony said...


7:52 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

You speak so clearly from the heart, from the soul and so much truth. I will miss those words of wisdom but my heart is happy to have entertwined with yours and to get to see the joy that is back in your life. All those experiences are going to help you as you begin this journey with your niece. Life does indeed go on for others and then you begin to realize it goes on for you as well. I think I reached this peak of grief and then something changed and I began to let myself live again. Sure, I still miss and love my dad with all my heart but it is a different missing and loving at least for now. I'm with you I hate cancer so what we all need to do is fight it with all our might so someone's special person doesn't have to be defeated by it. Cathy enjoy and love life to its fullist. Hug your niece for me.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Sally from CT said...

Beautifully stated, Sue.

You've come a long way, Cathy! I'm extremely happy for you but sad for me.....so few bloggers keep my attention - you do! I'll miss hearing from you.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Less than a month after Matt died, I was asked to speak at our local Relay for Life. I titled my speech "The Give and Take of Cancer". My list of the "gives" was very similar to the list in your note. As I continue to meet new BT families, I advise them to hang on to the blessings that are also a part of this disease. I do not believe that God chooses to give us cancer, but I have to believe that He helps us deal with it and provides blessings along the way (and beyond)to help us survive the pain. Thank you for your beautifully written blogs. You are on my list of "BT blessings". I will be forever grateful that you were willing to share yourself so openly with the rest of us. If you decide to keep blogging under a different site, I'd love to keep reading! May God continue to bless you and yours. Love, Lori Ware

9:21 AM  
Blogger Roads said...

That's such a fantastic post, and I agree with every word you say.

I forget some of it, sometimes, of course, but it is deep within me now.

Someone told me recently that they felt bereavement had finally enriched their life. I don't think that's entirely true - I'd so much rather never had had the opportunity to learn these things - but it certainly does give a new perspective, and an enormous sense of inner strength.

You capture that extraordinarily well.

The mystery, of course, is that these new perspectives aren't more widely shared. But gradually I realised that the only way to learn like this is finally through experience.

And frankly, you could never wish these kind of experiences on anyone. But it's very good to know you think the same, so many thanks for writing this.

8:52 AM  

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