For I Was Blind…
For many people in the current day, your mid-twenties is, ideally, where you would at least like to know which path you are on for the future. Now, I want to make it clear that I do not think there is anything wrong with living a carefree lifestyle at this age and allowing your journey to lead you to a career somewhere down the line. However, having the motivation to someday find your motivation is truly one of the more vital aspects at this age.
While in my hospital bed the week I was diagnosed, I was questioning whether this motivation was even going to be applicable to my life. My thoughts were somewhere along the lines of “why settle down with someone? Why not just travel the world until my recently diagnosed time-clock runs out of ticks?” And there is one reason why these self-inflicted questions were instantly shut down that week. Her name is Leah Palazola.
The “I’m Focusing on my Career and Keeping my Options Open” Excuse
I have known Leah for most of my life, and she was even my very first girlfriend back in eighth grade. A few months before my diagnosis, we began again to casually date. I must make a note that I deliberately use the word “casually” here. It was only limited to casual dating because, at the time, I had convinced myself that I was too young to commit to a serious relationship, hence my resistance in meeting her halfway. This was me believing that the corporate life that I was living trumped all other events. Thank you Cancer, for making me realize the horribly mistaken path that I was about to embark on.
What Would You Do?
The reasoning behind this blog post is not to tell the reader how much I love my fiancée. Instead, I want the reader to understand the strength that Leah had during my year of chemotherapy and having the backbone during the times that I was weak. I wish for you to understand the uncertainty she faces while being engaged to me, and the fact that she looks at these uncertainties and laughs at its existence.
What would you do if you were beginning to take the next major step in your life with your partner who is battling an incurable disease? Would you not be scared of losing that person too early in life? Here are the fears that have circulated throughout my being since the day I was diagnosed:
- I may never get the opportunity to propose to my girlfriend someday.
- I may never get to see this beautiful girl walk down the aisle and into my arms.
- If I do get this far, I may never be able to start a family with this woman.
- If I do get even this far, I may never be able to spend my golden era with the woman that, to me, has not lost an ounce of beauty over the years.
These bullet points are terrifying to me because I now know that I would not wish to achieve any of these steps without Leah. I do realize that the entire point of this website is to convince the reader to be Mindful of the present moment and to not worry about the future. But how could these thoughts not arise to my mindset as I laid in that hospital bed?
Here is why I love this girl so very much – because these bullet points NEVER came across her mind. All she focused on was my current health, and helping me to make the transition from a cancer patient to a cancer survivor.
She loves me in the present moment. She did love me in the past, but that time is over. She will love me in the future, but that time does not yet exist. She loves me for who I am at this very moment. That is why I gave her that diamond ring. That is why she is my best friend.
A Debt That Can Never Be Repaid
Her strength is the sign of true love. Think about the person you love most – the person you literally could not live without. Would you not be the rock for that person while he or she was struggling with life? If the roles were reversed, and if this was possible, I would take that cancer from Leah with a smile on my face. If you feel that way towards a significant other in your life, whether it be a partner, parent, sibling, or even a friend – then you, too, know the feeling of true love, and I say congratulations to you.
Leah, I now speak directly to you. Thank you so much for saving my life. I would not have been able to beat this cancer without you. Thank you so much for saying “yes” when I got down on that one knee. You have made it possible for me to begin to cross those previously mentioned bullet points off of my list.
The very least I can do is spend the rest of my life with you in order to repay this debt of new life that you have given back to me. Whenever I am gone, I hope you will believe this is my number one goal in life and I hope that, from your perspective, I had achieved this goal.
To my fiancée, I love you to the moon and back.