In the last two and a half years, since Dawn was diagnosed with metz to the brain, I have learned many things. I will not bore you by attempting to list off all those things. Some are patently obvious from some of my other postings. Some are deeply personal and really should not be shared, but there is one thing I do plan on sharing today.
I learned from Dawn how to love and to live. To live when facing the greatest fear most people have. The fear of death. See for most of us, we know we will die but we can put it out of our brain as something to worry about 20-30-50 years from now. My wife had no such luxury. She KNEW she had a short time frame. With great luck and beating the odd she would have 5-10 years. With some rough rolls more like 2 or 3. We got the rough rolls, but way before we knew that, we (mostly she) decided to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Dawn made it her full time job to love those closest to her and to share love with those most scared, most in need and especially those scared by cancer. She did that last part without regard to if they were worse off or better off than her. It really shocked some people that she ministered to, when they found out she was stage 4 with Metz to the brain. Some people cried, some people were shamed by their frailty in the face of her selflessness. She shushed those people, telling them my diagnosis is what it is. I can help you, so I do. Please don’t let my diagnosis stop me from doing something I seem to be good at.
I had a ringside seat to this. I had many of these people speak to me when they knew she couldn’t hear. They spoke of her as an angel, with glowing praise. I had no argument, as I saw many things they did not. I saw her overcome her own fears. I saw her determination to help even when she hurt. I too saw an angel.
In the whirlwind that was the two years after her metz was discovered, I spent more time doing than thinking. We spent more time living and enjoying each other than we did discussing metaphysics or her death. It did come up; we both accepted it would come, but chose to focus on the time we had and making it great.
I did promise I learned a lesson. That lesson is quite simple and quite vast at the same time. What I learned is that I have zero fear of death. For that matter there is no reason to fear death. I watched the person I love most in the world stare death in the face and not blink. I watched and helped her cheat death on several occasions and I even held her hand while the Valkaries brought her warhorse for the ride to heaven.
In watching and participating in such a struggle, I learned what is important in life. I also learned that life itself is not the important part. What you do with that life, who you become, how you go about it are the important things. Dawn showed me that life here is just the first part of the journey. Like with many things, she lead the way with wisdom exceeding mine. In this she lead the way by showing me, life is not eternal; but love is. When the Valkaries opened the door to heaven, she made sure a little leaked out on the Doubting Thomas, known as me.
Fear of death relies on the fear of the unknown. I have no fear of the unknown. I do not know the manner in which it will manifest, but I do know that the other half of my soul is patiently waiting for me on the other side. Seeing as she is there the next part of love will be awesome. Awesome is the opposite of fear. So although it might be a stretch to say I look forward to death, it no longer has any fear for me. For this too, I must thank you.