Sometimes when we think we had everything under control and life is good everything is beautiful, until a twist of faith decides it otherwise. One of my colleague ask me this: “What would you do when you learned that your husband only had six months to live?” I stumble upon the question. To this day, I don’t think I ever answer her back. I was crying with her – this is the day she learned her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer – a very aggressive lung cancer.
Her husband – who is happen to be my boss was a fighter. He refuse to give up and accept the 6 month sentence. He died two years later. Two years after doctor gave him 6 month sentence. Two years of battle and never give up. He will forever be miss. Along the way he taught me a very important valuable lesson about life and dying. One time he told me this is when he realize how powerless we are as human. There he was, an Executive Vice President for the bank, with all the money in the world. Money that he said he will gladly give up to have his health back, but can’t. Time he loss chasing that prestige position and career – losing a lot of precious time with family – that position he’s now just realize can’t do anything to help him.
He told me he never miss the important date. He never miss any birthday party, graduation, baseball or football game, proms etc… but he also told me there are others time that just as equally as important. A simple waking up late snuggling with his children, a walk in the park when the day is gorgeous, playing in the snow, normal regular family dinner at 7 pm. Seeing her children practicing ballet and piano or football and baseball. Or just saying “I love you” for no reasons… Those things that he often miss thinking ‘it’s just an ordinary thing’ but it’s not.
At the same time, wife of another colleague I have – also happen to be a very close friend of my boss – was also diagnose with cancer. She just recently pass away. Leaving a husband, 2 children and 3 grandchildren, 1 just born about a month before her passing. Her husband never seems to recover from the loss. He was to a 1st executive vice president for the bank. He just recently came back with his leaves and decide he want to give up his title and only work as a bank teller.
He’s been a great boss, a great lender, a great bank president. He build his career in banking for over 30 years and now he just want to give it away and just be a teller? Even a teller don’t want to be a teller – it’s a stomping stone position. He is adamant. So many people has tried to change his mind remind him that it maybe the grief talking not his rational mind. He is adamant. He had think it through and very sure of his decision.
As the story sounded more and more familiar, he told me, all those years climbing up the ladder, all day and night working is all for his family and old age – just like the rest of us. When his wife is dying, none of that helps her, but yet, in the process he lose precious time with his wife and kids. Now he vow will not lose any more precious time with his grandchildren. He still here working from 8-5 but that was it for his work commitment. No worries of weekend client entertain, of working late, the pressure of being in management.
He was once one of my boss and now he’s under me. Feel weird but we all respect his decision. Just now I walked pass by him, he was sitting at his teller station (no customer at the bank). I just notice how much more peaceful he look, he was sitting there, with picture of his family next to him and reading his bible.
Now here I am.. sitting at my desk reevaluating my life and my goal. I will not give up on my goal but I will make few adjustment. Somehow my life priority has change, and I need to find some type of balance to still be able to reach my goal but never lose sight of what important in life. Especially family and friends who had help us along the way. Stop and smell the roses is a phrase we often hear, maybe this time we should really do stop and smell the roses.
We live in this materialistic world that most people have lose sights of what really important until something terrible happen. I pray so hard that I won’t be that person that I will live my life everyday to the fullest and never lose the sight of what’s really important. As my parents taught me, Money and worldly possession, those are just a “loan” from God. He can take it away from you anytime he want whether you ready or not, but love, memory, knowledge and faith is all for us to keep, make sure you have that in you always.
So, what would you do when you learned that your spouse of family member only had few months to live? Or if YOU only have few month to live?