In February of 2016 my boyfriend (now husband) gave me a trip to California for my birthday. The trip was going to be in March. The very next week my brother, Danny, got diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
If you know anything about pancreatic cancer, you know that the diagnosis feels more like a death sentence and the survival rate is low. While we held out hope, the statistics were staring us in the face.
As the date of the trip kept creeping closer, I just did not feel right in my gut about going. How could I go have a good time with him so sick? What would I do if I go to California and he takes a turn for the worse and I can’t get back quick enough to see him. Every bad case scenario was popping up in my head.
I called my brother and told him how I was feeling. He had always been my biggest supporter and of course he had the perfect words for me. He said “Go to California, see everything, and do everything. Take lots of pictures and bring them to me to look at. Don’t ever put off going and doing things because you will never know if you will have another chance”.
I went to California and did try to have a good time. We did a lot of praying while we were there and of course I took a ton of pictures to bring back and show him.
My brother died at the age of 52, almost exactly 1 year to the date of his diagnosis.
Just last week I came across an email he had sent me about 2 weeks after my trip to California. He wrote it while getting treatment. In closing it said “The one thing I would tell people is if you ever want to go to California and drink wine, go now. Don’t wait until next year”.
I looked at this man that had worked hard all of his life, saved, and invested for his retirement, only to not be able to make it to his retirement. Don’t get me wrong, he loved life and did things and went places that made him happy, but I know that if he had known his life would be cut short, he would have done more.
I always loved to travel and see new places, but I think I was like many people and would not make time to be able to travel or I would think I needed to save more money for “someday” to come. Not anymore. I am going, seeing, and doing, if only for a day or weekend.
You are not promised tomorrow. I know it is the most cliche saying I could use, but when you lose someone close to you, those words become very powerful and real.
So, I tell you what Danny wanted everyone to know and do. Go, see, and do…….and don’t forget to drink a little wine while you are there.