I have a girl power playlist, you know all the songs that remind me that I can do anything because I was lucky enough to be born as a member of the strongest gender. Anyway, I listen to it when I need a power boost because it reminds me that I don't actually have to kill sexist jerks to receive satisfaction. But recently a song I love called, RISE UP has taken on new meaning for me. Last week I found myself crying when it played because it reminded me of Mark and the lessons he taught me by example.
"I'll Rise Unafraid" My husband developed 2 brain tumors two years into our marriage, but luckily after a month of treatment, we were cancer free with little effect on his overall health. Then eight years later, they came back. This time there were 4 and all of them were in dangerous places in his brain. We knew big changes were coming even if he survived, and we were told there was little chance he would. He had surgery, three months of intense chemo, and one month of radiation. He almost died twice, the last time the entire family gathered because three doctors said, it was time. He didn't give up. At the end of all that my husband was left with severe memory issues and some minor brain damage. We survived cancer. But you know what? He did more than survive, he rose unafraid.
It didn't matter that he could no longer do some of the things he loved, he found new things to enjoy. It didn't matter that he couldn't remember he'd told that story twice already, it was a good story, you might have missed something! It didn't matter that he got tired easily, he loved a good nap. It didn't matter that he had to wait long hours in doctor's offices, and outside labs, it was more time to talk to me. It didn't matter that he had to learn to walk again because our first granddaughter was learning to walk at the same time, so he had a buddy. It didn't matter that odds were the tumors would return, he was alive now.
"I'll Do It A Thousand Times Again". One year after his last radiation treatment Mark woke one morning to discover he was blind, After everything else he'd been through he lost his vision, which he needed to deal with his memory issues. Imagine forgetting where you put your shoes, then not even being able to see them in order to find them. I was freaking out. I was mad. I was so ......unbelievably shocked. Mark on the other hand reminded me we were given a gift. We were given time.
Time for him to see the faces of the people he loved, to enjoy his home and garden, time for him to watch his beloved Fulham Soccer Club screw the pooch on many occasions. While I saw another hammer blow, he saw the gift.
"All We Need Is Hope" Mark lived his life not focusing on the crap. Twelve years after he lost his sight, on a pretty summer morning, he died. He didn't give up, he never gave up because he carried hope with him. He lost that time, but he held the hope that it would turn out differently. And we were given another gift of time, twelve years of it this time.
"Move Mountains" Mark moved each of his mountains. If he couldn't move it, he carved it to suit himself. How can you possibly live without hope with his example? Every time I hear that song from now on, I will hear Mark talking to me. If he could see beauty in his mountains how can I do any less?