Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dori's Journals

"An unexamined life is a life not worth living."
- Socrates

Will and I were watching Saving Private Ryan a few weeks ago. In a scene at the end of the movie, a dying Capt. John Miller looks at the soldier he has saved and says, "Earn this." I have been reflecting on that statement recently and today, the four-year anniversary of Dori's death.

Several months ago, I was rummaging through a drawer and found two journals Dori kept during her cancer fight. The Socrates quote was one of many that Dori wrote down, but her own words were also powerful and moving. While I witnessed everything firsthand, it was amazing to read about her courage, determination, faith and doubts. All of us have doubts and fears. More of us need what Dori had. Faith. I would like to share more of her words, around the context of her journey and ours.

"[Cancer] has become my opportunity to be a person of more depth. To listen deeper. To care more. To focus on relationships instead of tasks. The word 'why" is never going to help."
"I stop myself from asking "why me"? But I don't understand "why" somethings can't be explained. Mark Faulkner said "why me" was in the past. True. "Why me' is despair."

Cancer changed Dori. It changed our relationship as husband and wife. It changed my children and me, while she was here and after she departed. It profoundly moved thousands of people who knew her and came to know her, at the hospitals and clinics, through blogs and CaringBridge.

"I have been told attitude is very important. That concerns me because I'm not always a glass half full person. No time like the present!"
"Liz told me it takes courage to get through this. I don't know if I have courage but I know I'm a damn hard worker."
"I will beat this. I will beat this. I will beat this. I will beat this!"

When Dori was diagnosed with leukemia, and the shock wore off as she started treatments, our love grew. It grew because she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Somehow, I experienced the same Spirit, through the love, support and prayer that surrounded us. A good marriage became a great marriage. Faith, hope and love ... But the greatest is unending, growing love.

"So sorry, little bad blood cells ... You are not going to control me."

Dori should have died several times over her four-year struggle. Her cancer was very aggressive, but she managed to fight through it several times when life should have ended.

"Patience is one of the attributes of God. When we are patient, we are like Him."
"We are often put to our most difficult test just before the greatest work of God in our lives is about to be accomplished."
"You are creating your future experiences with your 'now' thoughts.""
"This spectacular recovery is just getting started!"

Dori did beat cancer through her fight, patience, and grit. She beat cancer through her faith. It pisses me off to see obituaries and comments that so-and-so lost their battle with cancer. Really? Did they? Did Jesus lose his fight when he was tortured and crucified? Did every person with illness carry the cross like my wife did? Dori left this earth four years ago today, but she changed hearts, minds and lives all around her. We lost her presence, but we will always have her example. I pray that me, my children, and all of her friends and family do the same, until we see her again.

"Sometimes what seems like the darkest step we've ever been on comes just before the brightest light we've ever experienced."

"Tata for now!"


Patricia Tisdale Parrott said...

so Beautifully written. I cannot believe it's been 4 years. She IS a beautiful person, and always will be.
Pat (Laurel's mom, former SBA)

Alia said...

This is beautiful Jim! I remember her always writing in her journals and reading. We talked a long time about a book she was reading called "Just Enough Light for the Step I Am On" which I have recommended to several patients over the years and it really helped them. I also remember she shared with me one of my favorite quotes to this day from Anne Frank, "I don't think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains." What a special woman!

Unknown said...

Well said Jim and a thoughtful reminder. Enjoy Columbus and give Kathryn a Happpy Birthday hug from us. Nathan

Unknown said...

Jim, long time and no see. I hope you are well. For some reason today I thought of you and your children. I pray all is well with you. Chuck Hargrove