Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give and Take

originally uploaded by Sin92.

On my mind today is the old saying "it is better to give, than to receive." I couple this phrase with another familiar one, "there is always give and take."

I have never been in the position to be given the diagnosis of a terminal illness. Yet in walking the journey with my husband Michael, I was clearly able to observe that being on the receiving end of this news is definitely not where you want to be. I think all of us understand that when someone is given such bad news a typical question to ask is "why me?" For a couple having to face such challenges the logical question is "why us?" I know that for Michael it was difficult to not personalize that he was somehow chosen to have this cancer. Some people believe that there are no accidents. Some say God doesn't give us more than we can handle, or that there is some kind of blue print for our lives, in which case nothing is random. For Michael this came down to feeling that somehow he didn't always appreciate what life had to offer, so his life was being taken away. No matter how many times I tried to persuade him that this couldn't be true, that we are not punished for our uncensored thoughts and feelings, I'm not quite sure he believed me.

When I think of my own personal response to Michael's illness, and ultimately his death, I too ask "why me." Today my therapist commented on how agreeable I always am to his requests to try out various ways to illicit feelings. My thought was well, I am always trying to do what I believe is best for me, best for my kids, best for Michael, best for my friends and family, best for humanity. If there is a best way to handle a tough situation, then that is what I should be doing. I feel like I am the type of person that tries very hard to do what is right, to be a good person, and to take the lemons that life gives me, and make lemonade. Well, I feel like I have had to make more than my share of lemonade. Where is the balance in life? I keep on giving, so why does feel like life keeps on taking?

I'm not going to try to answer my own questions. I don't know the true answers, only the common catch phrases to such questions. What I do know is that I will keep on asking these questions, and will be open to the answers. They may never come to me directly, but hopefully they will come to me through my experience of life.


  1. Hello Dan,

    I am terribly sorry for your loss - I stumbled across your site from another widower blog - and though I haven't read much of your story just yet (it's late and I really should be sleeping), in reading this post I had a strange suspicion we had something in common. Then I followed the link to the caringbridge site . . .

    My husband also died of a brain tumour this year. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm only 5 months ahead of you on this awful road. I wish you as much peace as you can find.


  2. Hi Dan, I have found your blog through SSSF's. Your writing is so tender, and I recognize many of the feelings and thoughts reading your posts.

    I am so so sorry that you lost your husband Michael. I looked at your other blog briefly - he sure is a handsome man.

    I hope that tomorrow is not too painful for you and your children. These days - the "big" days usually have the ability to bring us to our knees.

    Wishing you strength and peace. Revel in his love ... he is still with you, I believe strongly ... it's just that you can't see him.

    Boo x