THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Inspirational man refused to let his illness define him

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I may have written before how important attitude is in life.

I was reminded of this again recently when I met the family of a man who had died following a short battle with brain cancer.

The gentleman concerned had been fit and healthy all of his life, so much so that he had never actually been to his doctor since he was a lad.

The sudden disorientation and loss of balance and mobility that accompanied his diagnosis, put a stop to his love of cycling.

This frustrated him initially but he did not dwell on that too long. “I’ll take up knitting if that’s all I can do” was his response.

Talking to his sons was memorable because they had tears rolling down their cheeks, but these were tears of laughter not sadness.

They recounted how their dad had never given up on enjoying what part of life was left to him.

Joking with medical personal and raising the spirits of those who came to visit. He would not permit long faces and did not want sympathy about his prognosis, he only wanted to laugh and hear others laugh.

His attitude meant that the whole family saw him not as a man dying of cancer but as a man living with cancer - and he went on living as long as the cancer permitted him to, and he lived with attitude, humour and dignity.

His death, when it came, was still very sad for those left behind but the sadness was soon dispelled and mitigated as they recalled how wonderfully able he had been to enjoy the journey of his life, from beginning to end.

He couldn’t change the circumstances of his illness but he could choose that it would not define him. A lesson for us all perhaps?

DREW BAXTER

Humanist