Friday, July 25, 2008

A Sad Day

I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with who Randy Pausch is but if you are familiar with the 47-year-old Carnegie Mellon professor who gave the now famous "Last Lecture" that found its way to YouTube you know just who I am referring to. Unfortunately Randy lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, the deadliest form of cancer, early this morning. It pains my heart to know that not only has he left behind his beautiful wife who now must live her life without him but he has also left behind his three young children, two sons 6 and 3 and a daughter just 2 years old for Jai to raise without their daddy. This story really struck me when I first saw Diane Sawyer interview Randy on ABC Primetime back in April and ever since that night I have been following Randy's progress through his web page. He was the vision of true strength through a very difficult time and he tackled the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer with more optimism and strength than I think I could even muster during a time such as that. I purchased his book titled The Last Lecture and enjoyed reading it. Randy claimed the lecture/book were nothing more than Randy putting himself in a bottle that would one day wash up on shore for his children. What an amazing man to love his children so much that he would do whatever he could to ensure that they would know who he was and just how much he loved them and for him to optimistically live the way he did while fighting the cancer. He is an inspiration to many, many people. I know that for myself I plan to read his book several times a year, more if I feel I need to, so that I can absorb his philosophy on how to live life to the fullest with each minute that passes. He's right, we can't help the cards we are dealt but we most certainly can help how we live each day, moment by moment.

What would you do or say if knew if you were going to die?

I know I've been dealt my fair share of jokers but I keep pulling up my big girl panties and dealing with it. I know I don't refer to if often, if at all, here on my blog but I cannot imagine not being able to watch my children grow up. I often wonder what my ex-husband was thinking the day he decided to terminate his rights. Was paying me the child support to help care for our children such an awful punishment for him, such indescribable pain, that he was willing to give up rights to his children knowing that he would miss out on the rest of their childhoods and not be here to watch them grow up. Does he ever miss not being able to watch his son play football? Does he ever wonder just how beautiful his daughter truly is and will he miss being here for her first date? Does he wonder what their grades on their report cards are? Does he ever wonder what they want to be when they grow up. Does he know that it was the kids wanting to change their last name to my maiden name? And the kicker is depending on what they feel when they grow up, there runs a possibly of him not having a relationship with them in their adult lives as well? Was that truly worth not helping me raise the children we decided to have together? The children he claims to love so much and would supposedly do anything for. Is that love? I don't think so. Love is what Randy Pausch exhibited for his wife and children by what he wanted to accomplish before the day the cancer won.

I cannot tell you how much happiness the kids bring to Eric and I on a daily basis. The thought of never having had them isn't even something I can comprehend. Would I ever go back and change the choices I have made if I knew then what I know now - no, not never. Not even for a second. My life has been so worth all the pain and suffering to have these two amazing kids I was blessed to call mine, if only for a moment and if it were to end tomorrow I know, in my heart, that I have the two best kids on the planet and I know that they would continue through their lives making me proud. I love the story Taryn tells me of how God asked her who she wanted to be her mom. She tells me He gave her several choices of moms to choose from. She tells me that she chose me because I was pretty and smart. That story makes me cry. Did she really choose me? Did she really have a choice? Just seeing these two kids makes me smile. I can be having the worst day ever and if I see, or hear the voice of one of the kids my frown is turned instantly upside down and I can't help but smile.

I can tell you that over the past year or so I've changed a lot of the ways of thinking that I had ingrained into me as child - I now use the good glasses and the good dinnerware and the nice linens. I wear my 'happy clothes', those that I used to feel must wait for a special occasion, when I want to. I don't wait to 'use' the nice stuff, I use it now because I may not get the chance and if it breaks, rips or stains, oh well. At least it was used and I was happy using it and my kids will always remember that every meal and moment was a special occasion . I try to make everything special, down to the simple ice cream sundae. I try not to worry about those things that I can replace, it's my children, husband, family and friends that are most important to me, those which cannot be replaced.

Live every day, every moment, as if it were your last and always remember to say "I love you."

God speed, Randy.

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