Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On heaven, life and love.

Well, it looks like I peaked.

My last post garnered an obscene amount of hits.  In fact, the most hits ever in the history of Our Diabetic Life. That is a lot of pressure, since obviously I can only go downward from here.  At first I was intimidated to write again, but this morning I woke up feeling liberated more than anything else.

My last post was a happy surprise.  I don't have to "live up to it."  I can write what I want.

Translation:  I'm going to my "special place," so brace yourself.

My eyes have changed.

When I look out the window I see a different world than I did a year ago. 

Everything is a miracle to me.  The blooms on the trees.  The clouds in the sky.  The cars on the road.  And as amazing as all these things seem to be, my shifted perspective helps me to see...they don't hold a candle to heaven.

"Heaven."  "The Spirit World."  "The afterlife." Whatever you want to call it, has become real to me.  As real as the school down the street, or the Super Market around the corner.  I don't only hope for a heaven, I sincerely believe it is there. 

Yesterday I lost another friend to cancer.  Dr. Richard Rubin was in every sense of the word, wonderful.  The first time I heardhim speak the tears flooded.  The second time I heard him speak it was all I could do not to run up and hug him.  When Ryan was at the last Friends for Life conference in Orlando saving seats for Dr. Rubin's lecture, Dr. Rubin found his way to the seat next to Ryan and said, "I think we are supposed to be friends."  Not only were they both fathers of children with diabetes, but they found they both had cancer in common too.  They hugged, they talked, they cried together and then they wrote to each other, until Ryan passed.   After Ryan passed he continued to write to me.  And in his last few months his notes were full of only appreciation.  His family.  The flowers.  Love.  That is all he spoke of.  That was all that was important.  And in Ryan's last days...that was all that was important to him too.

I think we are missing the point on this "life" thing.

We fret so much over the details, we forget to appreciate life...and to simply smell the flowers.

We make things so complicated that happiness, and beauty, and gratefulness get lost in the chaos.  If we believe that life doesn't end here, and we believe that this life is just a small dot, (although important dot,) in the grand scheme of can we not let that change our perspective?

It seems to me, love is all that matters.  Seriously.  Loving our children.  Loving our families.  Loving our neighbors.  Loving the miracles that we are afforded.  When we are close to death, we will see it clearer.  Maybe I'm fortunate?  I feel very intimate with death, and as such I'm feeling loved in a very real...different way.  A heavenly way?

Heaven is becoming so real to me that I wonder as I mourn Ryan's death, I wonder if he is in heaven celebrating his birth.  I wonder if he pities me when I cry, because he knows that our separation is so temporary.  I wonder if I really knew what he knew...if I would even cry at all.

I wonder if I'll ever get this life thing right.  Will I ever truly appreciate the important things like I should?  Will I let my emotions tear me away from people that I truly love, and need in my life?  Will I walk by a flower and not see that it was put there just for me?  Just for all of us?

What am I missing out on as I let the worry of the world, the hastiness of it all, cloud over my blessings?

If heaven is all about love, and I believe it is...then what is the purpose of us being here?  I'm beginning to believe that part of that purpose is to forget ourselves and find the goodness and love in others.  Also, to find the true meaning of faith.

My husband, since the day he heard the words, "Metastasized cancer," had the kind of faith, and hope that I think all of us need to truly live.

Dr. Richard Rubin had it too.

A couple weeks ago, Richard sent me this poem he wrote after beginning a new round of chemo.

I think we can all learn from him:
I am not afraid
As I approach death’s door and prepare to knock
Truth be told, I have been preparing since the day years ago
When I first heard the words “aggressive cancer”
Through the early times of encouragement and hope
Through the middle times of treatments that worked and those that did not
Through the recent times of chemotherapies that work until they work no longer
As my body weakens, my spirit strengthens
A small fire within that sustains me
And warms those who love and care for me
Drawing them closer
To share what can be shared
As I approach death’s door and prepare to knock and enter
I am not afraid

I need to let go of my fears and just love.  Not judge.  Not hate.  Just love.

It's easier said than done I know...but when the end comes, it will be clearer to us all.  I wonder if we need to wait that long, or if it is possible to internalize that perspective and let it change us now.

It's already beginning to change me.  I hope I can hold onto this perspective long enough to put a dent in all my pride.  I don't want you to think I'm walking around like Mother Theresa ministering to and loving every person I come into contact with.  I'm not.  Not even close.  It's just it seems everything I knew about life has been turned on its head.  The world seems out of focus a bit as I realize that maybe I'm seeing this life thing all wrong. 

Maybe if I tilt my kaleidoscope a little bit, I'll get even a more beautiful picture.

It's worth a try anyway.


  1. Thank you Meri for helping me put things into perspective. Faith and love really should come first, despite... well, despite everything!
    I often pray for you and your kids as you go through this new phase in life. It's really great how we can speak 2 universal languages: diabetes and the Holy Spirit!!

    From an online friend in Brazil

  2. This is exactly why I need to hear things from a different perspective from time to time, although I wish you didn't have that perspective, if you know what I mean. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  3. Thank you for this post Meri. I believe that all of us who have gone through the stages of losing a love one to cancer get to the "end" and see that life is so much more incredible and grand than we could have ever thought, and that life is made up of those amazing moments, those times of sunsets, flowers blooming, babies laughing (and crying), sitting in the grass being silly, such little wonderful moments. As it's been 4 years since my father-in-law passed we see how our dearest memories of him weren't the big trips, but the individual experiences, even that which once seemed mundane. So, I get it :) I know that for me it allowed me to love people on a more real level, it allowed me to be open to hearing their story and sharing in their experience, and you're right - it's all about love.

  4. Thank you, Meri.

    I had not heard of Dr. Rubin's passing until I read this post. Your words, and love, made the news much more gentle for me.

  5. I think we all need to be reminded of the joy in life.
    I'm so glad you're finding some joy!

  6. Meri, your words somehow bring comfort to me as my type 1 friend is also dying of cancer... She is the most beautiful and gentle of souls...


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