Like many people who have faced a diagnosis with cancer, I came up with my list. The list of the things that I desperately want to still be around for. The list of special moments that I did not want to miss or have the people that I love go through without feeling me there. I was diagnosed 7 years ago today, and I am determined to check off all items on the list. This isn’t my bucket list- this is my life list!
Jeanine’s Life List
- Be here for Jake’s 8th grade graduation
- Be here to help Jake learn how to drive
- Be here to hear about Jake’s first date
- Be here to watch Jake go to the prom
- Celebrate my 20th Anniversary
- Be here to see Jake walk across the stage at his high school graduation
- Be here to see Jake graduate college
- Be here to dance with Jake at his wedding
- Be here to go to the spa with my daughter-in-law and thank her for loving my son
- Be here to meet my first grandchild
- Be here to spoil my grandchild
- Celebrate my 50th Anniversary
- Be by my husband’s side until he takes his last breath
I think that you get the idea. My wish list is me begging to BE HERE! And the events in bold have happened! Just last week, my son (yes, by now you know that his name is Jake) graduated high school. It was funny how so many people anticipated that I would be a big weepy mess- he is my only child after all. But what happens with all of the Life List moments is that I am overcome with joy. Complete and utter JOY! I am thrilled to have beaten the odds and excited to get a chance to be a part of each special moment. A long time ago, I wrote a letter to Jake and/or Terry for each of these big days, just in case I wasn’t there. In each of these letters, I can see myself trying to impart some morsel of wisdom, humor, and a desperate attempt to have him feel the hug that I was wishing I would be there for to give him. Each time a Life List event happens, I quietly open up the letter, read it, and throw it away. And then I sit back and smile. Smile for all of the moments that I am getting a chance to be a part of in between the other big events. I smile at all of the ridiculousness that I get to be a part of and I have a huge smile for all of the hundreds of extra hugs that are mine to cherish.
I know that for many of the people that I have met and loved through Little Pink, their Life List got cut short, way too short. As I write this, I have 5 of our Little Pink moms who are currently in hospice care. I think about their Life List. I think about the moments that they will not get with the people that they love. And then I remember, they are getting their extra hugs right now. Because life is about cherishing each breath, each moment. None of us are guaranteed that we will get a chance to complete our Life List. But we are guaranteed the chance to right now, in this moment, love the people that we love with every fiber of our being. And for that, once again, I am overcome with JOY.
written by LPHOH Founder, Jeanine Patten-Coble