Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I awoke today with sadness, a heaviness lurking just under the surface. This grief came suddenly yet not unexpectedly. I tried as I willed to push it back, as far away from my heart as possible not wanting to have to face cancer’s long cold stare. But all the same cancer crawled out from its ugly rock and looked me straight in the face. Yes, cancer came to my door today and hit me over the head. You know the one we all see sitting there, unmoving as we dance and walk around it day in and day out?
It has been hard for me to see as I have tried to navigate through the heavy darkness since it rolled into my heart yesterday. The truth is I have been stumbling around in a fog since the dubious rock sitting outside my door brought news of the loss of one of cancer’s most powerful voices. His name was Donald A. Wilhem .
Don was more than an author or another blogger. No Don was both a friend and cancer survivor as well. In fact Don was a four time survivor and five time cancer fighter. Don had a way about himself that warmed your soul while challenging you to look deeper within yourself. Don continually made me laugh with his outside the box theories on life, balancing life as both a husband and a cancer warrior. Don was a wealth of insight, with a great sense of humor and a real character. He really had a one of a kind charm about him I have rarely come across in my lifetime. Don in just being himself had a way of inspiring those he knew leaving you asking yourself what more you could do for others.
I will be honest with you when I first met Don; I was not so sure of his “take no hostages” outlook on life. Truthfully he startled me, shook me up a bit. He was so bold without fear of what the world thought of him. Don was courageous and uplifting, absolutely not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve or call a spade a spade. I can’t tell you how many times Don left me speechless, with his charismatic ways. But you know the truth is these are all the reasons why I came to love Don so much.
Don’s book, This Time's A Charm", is both awe inspiring and hard hitting. To be honest when I first read his book I was not sure what to expect as I read from page to page. I would put it down, pick it back up again, keep reading, stop reading and think to myself “whoa, who is this guy”?
But I came away from reading Don’s book a changed person. The one thing I can tell you about Don’s book; “This Time’s A Charm” is that it is not your average hope and inspiration book. I re -read Don's story Monday afternoon after hearing he had gone into hospice, just a day before Don took his last step toward completing this part of his journey. As I read through his vivid and honest story-telling I felt as if I were indeed surviving boot camp... grateful for the experience, thankful for the insight and very aware Don was a force to be reckoned with. He had a way of bringing you right to him, face to face and a way of relating his journey in a very honest way.
Don was indeed very raw, uncut and uncensored about his battle with lymphoma . He held nothing back; he was very explicit in his writing about his own experiences with cancer while encouraging the reader to "go all in". Don was an inspiration and no matter how bad things got he could always bring me back to the here and now, not the worries of tomorrow or the defeats of yesterday but the beauty of today. No matter where life took us Don could relate to the fears, the sadness and the humor cancer brought to each of our doorsteps.
I guess I thought Don was invisible, as I watched him charge the battle field… so today I grieve for my friend, though I know he would not want us to. I know if he could he would tell us to chin up, continue with our own journeys, and carry on with the light life offers all of us.
Saying goodbye is never easy, so I chose to day till we meet again Don. You are my hero; an inspiration though gone will never be forgotten. Don you have one of those beautiful bright shining lights which never die…though you may have passed into the next part of your journey as you said yourself, your light will continue to burn for all to see.
Don, we will miss you… though I dare say I know you will be keeping an watchful eye on all of us from the comfy perch you have chosen to rest upon.
If you would like to learn more about Don, his book and his amazing positive outlook on life please check out his blog and website. http://www.thistimesacharm.com/