“There are no answers… only choices.”
Today’s story is from Mike Stewart.
One more day. With your father. Your son. What would you give? I sat on the edge of Mark’s hospice bed, his hand in mine. I gently brushed the thin, wispy hair back from his forehead. “He’s gone,” the nurse whispered from behind. The words I had feared for five years.
I have never understood why my son’s fate was to die young. I don’t expect that I will. My name is Mike Stewart. This is the story of Mark. He was my son.
So bright, funny. A regular comedian, and smart as a whip. Successful… respected in his professional career. Mark was that one person in anyone’s life… that one person who makes you believe, who gives you hope, who pulls you through.
But cancer doesn’t discriminate. The diagnosis was real. A parent’s worse fear. Not Mark. Please God, anything but this. Don’t take one of my kids. But I had to be strong for my son. Together, we had to beat this thing. But I was terrified, as any father would be.
Where did I find my strength? …Mark. Never once did he ask “Why me?”
“Dad, we’re all living on borrowed time. Most people live dying; they die a little bit every day. I’m going to die living. Every day I will learn something new, do things for others, and make the world laugh.”
It’s been 15 years. It feels like months. But Mark’s example lives on through those who he touched in the time that he had.
There is an old saying (popularized by the movie The Last Samurai):
“Tell me how he died…”
“No, I shall tell you how he lived.”
And live he did. Mark is my “Last Samurai.” Others feel the same.
The pain of loss is still sharp today, but I don’t dwell on it. Mark wouldn’t stand for that. Mark taught me many lessons in those last five years. Above all, he taught me the delicacy of life.
Appreciate who you have. Your kids. Your mom and dad. Your friends. Your wife. The time together. Each hour. Each day.
We take it for granted, don’t we?
I love you son. Dad