This I Believe

Steven - San Rafael, California
Entered on March 13, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that life is too short and therefore one should make each day count. After my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2006, I truly adopted this belief.

Life was humming along for us in late 2005. Our son was nearly eight-years-old and happy in school, my wife was almost eight months pregnant, and we knew she was expecting a girl. Verna generally enjoyed her pregnancies. She glowed, she exercised, she worked out; she spent time with her parents.

Then the crushing news came three weeks before she was due: advanced breast cancer, lymph nodes were involved.

Our lives immediately went topsy-turvy as fear and panic set in. Because Verna’s doctors wanted her to start chemotherapy as soon as possible, they delivered Maya three weeks early.

The next few months were a blur of treatments, surgery, anguish, tears, pain, and tremendous moments of grace and joy as family and friends pitched in to help us cope and survive.

I can’t say I was always calm, but I do remember early on feeling focused and relatively tranquil. Minor annoyances no longer mattered. “Life is too short….make each moment count”, did become a mantra for Verna and me.

Right after Verna was diagnosed, I took Miguel to see the Harlem Globetrotters. Normally I wouldn’t have spent $25 for a t-shirt, but Miguel wanted a memento. Why not? Life is too short.

My belief that life is too short and everyday, every moment, matters enabled me to poke Verna with needles, drain her tubes after surgery, comfort her when she cried, and ignore all the unresolved slights and hurts I’d let fester. Soon my anger dissolved and I saw my life with greater clarity. I knew my role was to be her support and confidant.

When Verna wanted a new TV, one with a built-in DVD player, to watch an endless bounty of TV and movies during her chemo treatments, we had no problem with the expense. Life is too short, so why not?

When Verna needed a really comfortable chair because she was going to be resting nearly 24/7, we spent the money for two quality reclining rocking chairs, one for downstairs and one for our bedroom.

Three years later, Verna is healthy and busy as a stay-at-home mother. I still believe that life is too short and therefore I must seize the moments in order to fill my days with blessings, happiness, and purpose.