Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As the song goes, "it's just another New Year's Eve." For a friend of mine it's beyond that. It's another chance to fill 365 days with a fulfilling life. Diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 24 and given 4 years to live (this being his second), this new year comes with a lot of hope and acceptance. He was a brilliant employee who almost had great chances of moving out of the country, getting employed by one of the world's best employers and the ultimate dream of creating a life abroad with a loved one. Upon his diagnosis 2 years ago, his partner had left unable to handle a long-distance relationship, his employment was cut short because of health reasons and his dream making a sharp turn towards the unexpected. What is one to do when faced with death. When I received a long-distance call that day he told me about his ailment, the voice on the other line was casual, candid and even joking about other matters, then moving on towards a straightforward announcement of the diagnosis. He was to return home and resume his post with his former employer. He decided to change his lifestyle: a strict organic diet, exercise and lots of rest. But over and beyond that, a change in thinking. To come face to face with death is an inevitable embrace of it. The truth is we are face to face with our expiration from this planet, only he is faced with hard facts on how the expiration would come to pass. In the last times I've spoken with him, he has seemed to move on towards a higher level of existence. When I say higher, it means a kind of existence that goes beyond routine and day-to-day. It is higher because it sees the bigger picture and purpose of every hour, every day, and in this case every year. Tonight, he texts me from Australia and wishes me the best for the coming year. It is at that moment that I realize this is not just another New Year's Eve for him, for some. It is another chance at hope, another struggle with acceptance and another thanksgiving for life.