My grandmother used to tell me bad things come in sets of three. Anytime something bad would happen it was pretty much a guarantee that she would show extra caution when doing things because she didn’t want to be included in that group. That saying has been passed down to me, even though I don’t believe in that type of superstition. So, imagine my surprise when in one day, not only one, but three people asked me how I felt about not being able to live a full life because of having an incurable cancer while still in my 40’s.
Truth be told, I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? Gee…. Thanks for point that out to me? It made me do a lot of thinking. I’ve thought about everything I’ve done or experienced in life. The only question to me wasn’t how I felt about not being able to live a full life, but I pondered on what determines if my life was full?
My childhood wasn’t pleasant. Look up dysfunctional in the dictionary and my family is proudly displayed. That caused issues when I left the home, because I didn’t know how to act, but I did leave home and I had quite a few lessons that I had to learn the hard way, but boy did I live it up.
I joined the Marine Corps and traveled the world. First stop was Parris Island, SC where I was introduced to how things were going to be for the next four years. At that point in my life, I would have loved to stay there for a few years. After boot camp I went to California and from there I went around the world. I used to spend the weekends on the beach playing volleyball, drinking Coors Light and grilling out. I can say that I was still a messed-up kid at that point. I still didn’t know how to act as an adult, but I had a lot of fun. I fell in with the group of people that was just going to do one tour and get out. I wanted to fit in, so that was where I felt the most comfortable. I did my four years and got out right after spending 7 months in Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I was married and divorced before I was 30. I had a son that I was determined to raise better than I was. His mother and the courts saw things differently. At 32, I decided to go back into the Marine Corps and it was back to something that just felt right. I excelled at everything I did. I got promoted on the first day I was eligible for every rank I earned. I had a stellar career for which I was highly rewarded. I eventually got my son back and I was there for him every day until he decided to follow in the family business and joined the Marine Corps, too. I would marry and divorce one more time before getting it right.
I was a highly successful recruiter and I spent 4 years on recruiting so that my son could finish out high school in one school. It was during that last year that I met my current wife. We have a relationship like no other. I can’t tell where my soul ends and hers begins. We are almost always on the same page no matter what.
I finished my Marine Corps career and retired to our forever home three years ago this month. We live in a great house in a great neighborhood. We are making memories that will last a lifetime here.
My wife is my soulmate. She is the love of a lifetime. We are in it together no matter what. She is my support network, and my biggest advocate. She is fierce and resilient when it comes to making sure I’m getting the right treatments for my cancer.
Our daughter plays the piano and the flute while playing Volleyball for her school and maintaining mostly A’s and B’s. She is growing up too fast for me, but she’s doing it right. I couldn’t ask for a better daughter. She’s one of those people that are just beautiful inside and out. She must get that from her mother.
My son is his own man, making his own choices. I once told him he couldn’t come up with something that I didn’t already do. His response was challenge accepted. He was an American teen. Mustang and all. He is more successful at being a Marine than me or my father ever was and that is all I could ever ask. He’s been blessed with a girl of his own and she used to give the best sloppy kisses of any baby ever.
So…. how do I feel about not being able to live a full life? Simple. I think someone needs to use a different measuring cup when looking at what makes a person’s life full. I have lived a full life. My life is filled with people who love me, and I am blessed to have the things I have. I will continue to live a full life until the time comes that everyone of us must face…. and then I will have died living a full life…. But don’t expect that time to come any time soon. There are a few things I have left that I want to do!