Monday, March 28, 2011

On life, living and death

This morning the sun is shining. The skies are blue. But for the past week or more we have had rains and winds and weather that has left the hillsides saturated to a point that there have been slides, and new waterfalls, and roads that have had to be rebuilt. After a storm passes, it has changed the things it has touched in some ways forever.

Early this morning Kathi Phirman died from Stage Four Breast Cancer with her daughter and son by her side.

Breast Cancer comes into your life with a changing wind and threatening skies. You are not at all sure how to protect yourself but you arm yourself with doctors and drugs. You stock up on vitamins and healing foods. You look inward to find the faith to trust your journey has a purpose. You steel yourself for the worse and you count yourself blessed to have people who are willing to weather this storm with you.

For some people right from the start they believe there is sunlight on the horizon. For some people that belief if made easier by diagnoses that are numbered 1 or 2. For others the darkness created by numbers like 3 and 4 make believing in survival quite a bit more difficult.

Kathi was diagnosed with Stage 4 invasive interductal carcinoma of the breast, metastasized to her colon and behind her left eye. From the start she had the love and support of her daughter. From the start she believed and prayed for a miracle. I don't know if she knew this at the time, but now she does know, there was a miracle. The miracle came from her to those people she never met like me.

In her I saw a woman of immense strength and an unbelievable capacity to care about others despite her own personal crisis. She made a sizable donation to Allison's walk. She sent us a video thanking us for walking in the 3 day. Even a day or so before her death she was meeting with people with a smile on her face. Her orders to the Doctors until the end, indicated she wanted to live for as long as she could. For someone like Kathi, with a firm belief in heaven and God, this was not a selfish wish to stay here as long as she could. For her to leave this world would be a journey she did not fear but would welcome. I have to believe she wanted to stay for as long as she could to show us all how much she loved all of us. And certainly how much she loved her daughter.

SEE KATHI's Thank you Video

Last night when I went to bed I told Glenn I had been thinking about joy and living. I wondered if people are allotted only so much happiness in any given life. We all have the same allotment but some of us use our allotment and others let it be wasted.

"Somebody should tell us right at the start of our lives that we are dying. Then we might live life to the fullest every minute of everyday. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do , do it now. There are only so many tomorrows." Pope John Paul VI

And on that note, and with Kathi and Kim in my heart, I am going to get dressed and go to Point Reyes to see the sunshine, the ocean and how the world has changed after this storm has passed. I will walk and breath and live well today. I will ask you to help me end BREAST Cancer and do it for Kathi, or your mother, or your friend who fought this disease for you. It's our time to end it for them.


Read Kathi's Story