Friday, June 26, 2009

Sharing The Last Journey

Farrah Fawcett's two and a half year battle with anal cancer was heroic, as most such battles are. What makes her death especially notable is the information she gave us about her disease, and her determination, even though she'd been told she could not be cured, to fight for her life.

One of the greatest gifts we humans can give our family and friends during such a prolonged illness is to share our journey, as sad and as difficult as that might be, and to put up a good fight. The tendency is often to withdraw and slam a door closed behind us, shut everyone out, and give up. When that happens, everyone loses.

Farrah's willingness to talk about her experience, not only with those close to her, but with everyone who wanted to be there, was a blessing. Her approach reminds me of two others who gave us more of themselves than most would.

One is Gilda Radner, the Saturday Night Live legend who died of ovarian cancer, a sneaky disease that is very hard to diagnose. A twentieth anniversary edition of her book, It's Always Something, has just been released by Simon & Schuster. Your library probably has a copy as well. First published not long before her death, Gilda's book is poignant and funny and so real you feel you know her by the time you turn the last page.

The second book is more recent: It's the print version of The Last Lecture by Carnegie Mellon Professor, Randy Pausch. Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in July, 2008, just a few months after the book was released. In The Last Lecture, he passes on life lessons, and shares his passion for the work he accomplished and the family he loved.

Yes, the stories are sad, but they also remind us of some universal truths. I highly recommend both.

5 comments:

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Death and grieving are part of the journey. Still, they give one pause. Thank you for the book recommendations. If you think they speak to the issues, then, they surely do.
Best regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

alexisgrant said...

The concept of universal truths is one every author should strive to hit... What makes us all alike? Thanks for sharing this, especially since it's a timely topic.

N A Sharpe said...

I was very impressed with the depth of the journey that Farrah shared with her recent video about her cancer. It is not an easy path to travel. I had heard of Gilda's book but, actually, am glad for the reminder. The Last Lecture is phenomenal - Randy approached the whole thing like the next adventure...

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

Helen Ginger said...

I would like to see Farrah's video. I think it came out on cable, which we can't get. The snippets I saw of it were quite moving. I think I'll see if it's out on video. Question is, can I watch it without bawling. Every time I saw Randy Pausch talking, I'd get all teary-eyed.

Helen
Straight From Hel

The Practical Preserver said...

It's a journey we all will take. I'm reminded of Ophelia's comment, "They say he made a good end of it." Can any of us hope to do any better than that?