The Best Year Of My Life!

Posted on October 2nd, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I was in my hometown last weekend and I ran into someone who used to teach me in high school. We were chatting for a while, catching each other up on what has been happening in our lives. This lady knew of my predicament, and had been following my progress over the year or so. She was recounting how she had been told that this had been the best year of my life. I was quite shocked by this, and still am.

I am sorry to disappoint. But on all accounts it sounds like I should have had the most wonderful of years. To be honest though, I have had better.

I had to apologize to the lady and tell her the truth. I said I have actually had a terrible year. “Thank goodness, you are real!” she laughed with a sense of relief.

There is a train of thought that I don’t relate to at the moment. It involves thinking that something like cancer is the best thing that happens to someone. Now I am not saying that I may not get to that point, but I am honestly not there yet, I don’t expect to be, and I don’t want to be. I liked not having cancer – true, I really liked it.

There are a few reasons why I think people try to perceive nasty situations as being great. Sometimes, it may be due to the pressure placed on people in some circles to smile in the face of tragedy, fearing that a quivering lip may show a lack of faith, strength, certainty, hope. Of course, it may also be a way to protect oneself from the harsh realities of life – if it is talked up as being positive, there is no need to deal with the traumas that we come across in this life. When I think of this response in relationship to how God would see it, I am convinced he doesn’t need us to talk up tragedies so that he doesn’t look as bad.

I am very wary when people immediately reflect on a terrible situation and declare how much good came out of it. This is not to say that good things can’t happen in the midst of trauma, but it doesn’t help me personally to see them as cause and effect. I am sure most people completely understand that the year has been difficult, and I am not interested in reiterating the struggles – I think we’ve all had enough, but I feel it is important to make things clear all the same.

I remember hearing of someone’s funeral where the friends and family were ushered prematurely into a time of celebrating the life of the departed. In an attempt to lessen the sad reality of the situation, the gathered were led in triumphant songs and the mood of the service was kept light. Days after the service had taken place, they repeated the service for those who needed to engage in a time of grieving. They had endured a devastating loss, and they were ballsy enough to let the loss wreak havoc with their spirit for that time. It was time to respond honestly.

For me, there have been so many things happen over the year and a half that make me very happy, and I wouldn’t want to give them up. It has been a chaotic mix of highs and lows. There are still many things to be thankful for and there have been fantastic times throughout.

My perception on this may change in the future, I am not sure, but for now I am happy I am alive and experiencing an extension of time thanks to a terrible year of treatment. I never want to do that again.

5 comments.

stacey

Comment on October 3rd, 2008.

i agree with where you are at. If cancer, and other such traumas and tragedies are so great then why aren’t we all wanting them to happen to us??? Simply because they suck! And as you say, that doesn’t mean that good things can’t come out of them, but the actual trauma itself isn’t something people desire. Even Jesus asked God if there was any other way when he was about to be crucified.

Simon

Comment on October 3rd, 2008.

Amen.

Jan

Comment on October 3rd, 2008.

Hey Cam
I totally understand what you are saying, and have also come across people that say “cancer is the BEST thing that ever happened to me”. I want to say…could you please kiss my ass! I feel as you do….I have found many things that cancer has opened my eyes to and it has brought many people into my life I would have never met… my changes…it you want to call it that… is the more of the “grateful I’m here to experience this” type of thing, rather than this earth shattering revelation type thing others talk about. Maybe it’s our stage in this friggin mess we’re in. I was always a positive person BC (before cancer) anyway, so when I read these people say it is the best thing that ever happened to them, it only makes sense to me that they were absolutely 100% type A, always stressed, ignored feelings of all kinds etc etc. type of people. Then it does make somewhat sense that there are such “profound” changes from cancer for them. I think we are just the people we were BC, just a bit more aware and in tune that today is all we have. It’s weird that you wrote about this today, b/c on my blog http://www.janscancerjourney.blogspot.com my last few entries address this exact type of thing. Love and hugs

Maria Binns

Comment on November 4th, 2008.

I think maybe you woudl also need a fairly severe mental illness to say that a year with cancer has been the best year of your life. I think it is quite normal to prefer sunshine to rain and fair weather days to really tough ones! Glad to see you are normal!

Maria

Maria Binns

Comment on November 4th, 2008.

Ummm more to say. I have heard some people say in hindsight when they have been given the all clear that it was the best thing to ever happen to them. How shitty was their life before? I mean really?

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