Life is full of transition and moments of self aware happiness punctuated by getting on with getting on. Reflection is often difficult, especially with two kids a partner and a career and when it comes it’s all the more bittersweet for it.
I don’t often consider my life, whilst at the same time accepting the fact of my cancer and shorter span than many. One thing it has taught me to do is take less for granted, but given it’s been seven years since diagnosis this year, this awareness also does dissapate. Most states will become normal if sufficient time passes.
That’s why moments of clarity and rest are so important. Especially with young kids. Grace is four in April, and Avery is already two. No longer babies and in Grace’s case not a toddler. Having two young kids is busy work and often you lurch from event to event in the day without reflection. Today I managed to get a moment where the clarity broke the endless succession of days.
It was bed time. The children were tired and we read our usual two stories and then after the light was out we had our four songs. Then, as I always do, I told them I loved them. Grace told me she loved me too and that I was her best friend in the whole world. Avery was too tired to talk, but cuddled into my neck and shoulder for comfort and was touching my ear. Then Grace said she wanted a cuddle too, so I drew her in with my other arm, so she didn’t get cold and she lay in the snug of my chest and arm.
Within moments they were both breathing deeply, warm and heavy against me as they fell into a sleep, sure that they were safe from all ills. I lay there for a few moments and reflected how precious that was. How touching and how brief. They really need you and love you with all their heart, and you yearn to protect them and keep them safe.
Then my mind drifted to things beyond my control. The Coronovirus, a slip in the road. And for a moment I explored the sense of keen fear and pain that only a parent knows when they contemplate the unthinkable. It’s not often you choose to go there and consider it, to do so more often would make life a lot harder. That reflection, though, allows you to realise what is important. What is the point for you and why you bother. Whether it’s child related or not. The moment of contemplation.
I deposited each child in their beds and then sat down. I felt somewhat deflated. My cancer reality is not a day to day weight. More a sporadic and unexpected burden that intrudes at any given moment. Thinking about pensions. Retirement. Seeing the kids get married or become adults. Then my mind sends me a nudge. Don’t plan for that champ. It may be it never happens. In some of those cases is highly probable it won’t. I know that I’ve been exceptionally lucky already. Seven years without treatment. Aiming for a lucky ten, although with my bloods seeming to plot against it. Prognosis is 50/50 at ten years and I’m so fortuitous that I’ve had two lovely kids and escaped so far.
That’s one of the reasons why I work so hard too. I part own a company with my best friend and I love going into work everyday. I know that’s weird but I’m building something greater than me. Something that I think matters. We founded to help people, solve problems and train our young passionate team and by hell we try and do it to the best of our abilities. It’s a labour of love and I want to see how far we can take it. It’s also my legacy, something I almost never discuss. I can’t get life insurance and you can probably forget about me getting to my pensionable age. This will provide. It’s why I’ve put eight years into it and will continue to do so as long as I can. It’s difficult to put into words, but it’s tied into my children too. I want them to see a dad who lives to the fullest. Who has achieved and will continue to achieve, so they know that nothing can stop them. That’s the example I want to set. It’s their inheritance. Maybe if I didn’t have cancer I would consider being a serial entrepreneur, but I don’t. This is what I do.
That’s such a bitter sweet realisation. Cuddling my children, reflecting on the fleetingness of life and why we do what we do. It’s terrifying and wonderful and flies in the face of my prognosis. I may not live to see them grow up, but moments of that type, utter trust, warmth and reliance make it feel worthwhile both at work, and in my private life.
I’m sure tomorrow I will look after the kids and be too busy to consider too much. It’s good and bad. Dwelling on cancer is no picnic. Plus kids run you ragged. I just hope I get enough moments of quite contemplation to make it all worthwhile. As of now I do. As for the near future where I may be dead and gone I’ve been writing this blog. It’s for people now in the same boat, but for my kids too. My thoughts are what I am as a person, but not how everyone around me percieves me. I want my kids to get some of that too, not just anecdotes of my actions. People need to reflect too. It’s important. Otherwise they can’t know their thoughts and their treasures.
After all if any of you who don’t have an obvious stop on life were to reflect on it, we all take things for granted. Time passes. Take your moments of conscious awareness and comfort where you can. A cup of coffee on a cold morning. A moment of human kindness. An achievement long or short conveted but wanted nethertheless. That is life. That is important. And it’s why I do all the things I do. For me it’s my kids. They are the world to me. And my business we work hard at every day. And my hobbies, and travel, and love. All of it makes life worth living and the bitter pill of mortality that much easier to swallow, when swallow it I have to mostly at unexpected moments. Treasure it.