Thursday, May 23, 2013

...and we'll go up, up, up....

So, if you saw the Zach Sobiech story on facebook recently... you've probably been feeling like I have these past few days...pretty emotional, inspired, and honestly... down right sad.

If you haven't seen the Zach Sobiech story... you can watch it here... My Last Days: Zach Sobiech

Basically, here is the long and short of it.

At 14 years old, Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma... he battled it for a few years... it came back and he was given a few months to live.
Zach chose to stop treatment and spend the last few months of his life LIVING and not dying. 
Zach created music.... beautiful music. Zach loved his friends. Zach loved his family. Zach loved life.

Zach died on May 20, 2013. He was 18 years old.

I did not know on Monday morning when I watched Zach's story that I'd be so moved, so inspired, so touched and so heartbroken.

I did not know that when I clicked on the link to the video that I would be watching a story that was so, so similar to a story that I already knew by heart.

If you've read my blog or know me personally, you know that I lost my brother to Ewings Sarcoma.  
2 years, 7 months and 1 day ago. 
He was 2 weeks shy of his 26th birthday.

He, like Zach, battled cancer for a few years, endured surgeries, chemo, radiation...spent about 9 months cancer free and then it returned... in his lungs.

 He then spent another 10 months doing more chemo as a maintenance type program. 

Two weeks of chemo, two week break, two weeks of chemo, two week break... and he was miserable. For two weeks of every month, he didn't move from the couch.
He was ill. 
And we knew that the treatments weren't a cure... they were just buying him time. 
So he made the decision to stop treating...And start living with what little time he had left.

He had almost a whole summer before the cancer took over.

And watching Zach's video brought it all back for me. 

Everything about Zach and his family was so strangely similar to my brother and my family.
I could literally do nothing but cry when I watched. 
And then I watched it again. And cried some more.

And should I be embarassed to admit that I watched it again?

I couldn't help it. I was transfixed.

It was like I couldn't get enough of Zach or his family.

Because in a way they were MY family.
He was my brother. His sister was me. His mother was mine.

Watching the video... you could feel the strength, the courage, the love.
I was moved by their grace. 
I was heartbroken by their sadness.

In watching Zach's story NUMEROUS times, I felt that familiar feeling of trying to find the happiness through the sadness during my brother's last few months... trying to savor the moments -the touching little moments....
the sound of my brother's voice as he teased my girls, his boisterous laugh... the funny faces he made when telling a story... his walk... his scent.  

There was this ever present feeling in those last few months that time was slipping away... too quickly.

While we were trying to make memories and enjoy what time we had left...we were ever aware that our time with my brother was like sand slipping through our fingers... there was no holding on to it. 

All we could do was maintain and breathe. And love. And laugh and cry. And live.

And watching Zach and his family, it all came back.
That feeling of, "Hold on. I don't want this to end yet. PLEASE don't let this moment end"

And it broke my heart all over again.

And you'd think that maybe I'd avoid watching stories like Zach's... to spare myself the heartache.

But actually, I'm grateful to have seen it.

It opened my eyes.

Because in the past 2 years, 7 months and 1 day... while I've been healing,
I think a part of me had closed off to really feeling..really living.
I've tried to forget because it hurt too much to remember.

I just forged ahead.. .pushed through and looked forward, but in that... I lost a lot.

In the three years that my brother was fighting cancer, my family learned to cherish the little moments and let a lot of unimportant things go.

We really enjoyed each other's company and savored all the tiny moments because that's all we had.
Happy or sad...all we had were those moments. 
And together, we lived day to day... moment to moment... until the end.

So while cancer took my precious brother... it DID give us the ability to live in the moment.

And I think I've lost that.

I've lost the ability to just be here now and breathe and live.
I've lost the ability to savor the day I've been given.

And really... isn't that all we can ever do? Live the day that we've been given?
ALL of our time is limited here.
There is a cap to all of this... and for some it's much sooner than others. 
And we don't know when our time is up.

And that's crazy to think about. But it's also kind of a relief.

Like someone taking a weight off your shoulders saying,

"Hey, stupid! Let it go! Live right now! How do you feel RIGHT NOW? Forget next week!"

And I needed that.

I needed to be reminded of that by Zach and his family... by my own brother and my family.

We all have the ability to live in the now, we just need a reminder now and again.

And sometimes it's a painful reminder... sometimes it literally hurts. 

But I'm grateful. 

I'm grateful for these past few emotional days spent in a fog.

I'm grateful that I've been reminded that I have a lot of love to give now... that I have a lot of life to live now...that I have a lot of emotions to feel now... and that ALL of our time is here is limited with our without a terminal illness.

I'm grateful for the Sobiech family for sharing their story and their courage, and for the gift they've given me...reminding me to live...all day...every day...for as long as I'm here.

Rest Easy, Zach Sobiech.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

And we'll go up, up up.....
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you....

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