Yesterday I attended the funeral of a fellow survivor who lost his battle with cancer. This person was part of my “extended” family – my brother’s father-in-law – and it hit me pretty hard. This was not his first round with cancer, but this time around he and I were diagnosed around the same time. We both fought. I beat it. He did not. And it just sucks.
I went in to visit the social worker at the local cancer center to see if she had any pamphlets or something I could get for my niece, who is seven. As we began to talk, I realized his death affected me more than I realized. And I also realized that among the sorrow and sadness I was feeling, there was another feeling buried deep. Guilt. I felt guilty. Why did I survive and he didn’t? Why did I beat it (against all odds) and he didn’t?
These are new feelings for me. I know that our situations are different, and I know that he is now home with our Lord and Savior, no longer suffering. But this is the first death due to cancer I have dealt with since being diagnosed with cancer. I am working hard to make my life a real life again, not one revolving around cancer. But sometimes it just hits me. Life is ultimately changed when you get a diagnosis like cancer.