You know I turned on the computer this morning just for a little entertainment before I started the big pack for Canada. We’re moving this week, finally, after over a year of planning and longing to be closer to my family. On the day I found out about my breast cancer, I said to Zsolt – “I want to go home.” But life isn’t always that straightforward. And so we waited. And filled out paperwork. And defended a thesis. And visited his family in Hungary.
But now. . . now it’s time for home – Canada is calling.
So I turn on the computer this morning for a little entertainment, logged into Twitter – and what do I read? The crushing news that Jack Layton has passed on. This is not a political thing, not for me . . . it’s about surviving and fighting and being inspired by stories like his – fighting through the disease for a cause he believes in, and not letting cancer stop him for one moment from living and loving life.
It never helps when people tell you they know someone who passed away from Cancer. It hurts. It’s scary. It’s the story you never want to hear. And perhaps today – maybe like many of you who are watching the news or flipping through the internet – maybe Jack’s passing scared you like it did for me this morning. But then I read his ‘Letter to Canadians’ and decided maybe it’s not worth being scared today. Sad, yes. Hopeful and determined, always. Scared . . . not today.
I’ll leave a slice of his letter below – because it’s touching and it’s for us. The rest you can read for yourself if you like. I’m sure in about ten minutes it’ll be all across the internet. Jack’s message:
“To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.”
Which is another reminder of why I’m going home and why Canada means the world to me. For a year I have fought, and this summer I’ve rested. Now I want to have family near – to go for tea with my mom, dance with my friends, tease my little brother, listen to Dad’s fish stories, and meet my older brother’s girlfriend while he cooks us some soup. I want to visit my grandmother too. Every moment is to be cherished, and every day is an opportunity. So let’s be determined today, okay? Let’s be full of hope and ass-kicking gusto.
I’d like to say that my heart goes out to Jack Layton’s family. And I wish them all the love and support possible in this difficult time.
And Canada – I’m coming home. Oh, I’ve missed you terribly. I am coming home this very week. How wonderful is that?