Cancer creates change. Your outward appearance often becomes altered, your work is affected by endless doctor appointments, your daily schedule becomes interrupted by extreme fatigue, and your perspective on life is forever changed. I admit, prior to the cancer diagnosis, I was living my life with a set of priorities that were developed during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I want you to know that it wasn’t until I had cancer cells attempting to shorten my life here on earth that I realized several of my priorities were clearly in the wrong order.
How’s that? Even though chemo treatments were underway, one night, after dinner, I started doing what I normally did. I cleaned the kitchen, swept the floors and was about to start the laundry when a question came to mind: would my children look back at their memories of their mother and smile as they reminisced about the cleanliness of the kitchen and the rotation of the laundry? Thinking back to my own childhood memories, I quickly realized that this was probably not going to be the case. I stopped cleaning. The chores could wait. That night, singing, dancing, laughing, and playing became a new part of my daily routine. Yes, the chores still had to be done, but the world was not going to end because they were not finished before the children were in bed and fast asleep.
Looking back on that night, I realize now that it took a wake-up call from a cancer diagnosis to make me reassess the priorities in my life. I kind of wish I hadn’t waited for the call; but that’s all in the past now. And now I think I know what is meant by the saying that each and every day is a gift; although we are born with expiration dates, we simply don’t know what that date actually is.
And that’s what I wanted to share with you this Christmas. I was hoping that anyone reading this could learn from my mistakes. Maybe they could discover that they can change things without waiting for a wake up call.
Now back to my favorite time of the year, Christmas! I wanted to share this gift with you. While decorating the house the day before Thanksgiving, I found a poem that my daddy had written for my brother, sister, and me a few years ago as a Christmas gift. As I stood reading it, I realized that the reason for the season was very clear. And it was all about priorities.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Cheryl Copeland is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about life’s lessons and her personal adventure with breast cancer.