Am I the only person who, rather than wondering “Why me?” during tough times, often has “Why not me?” cross my mind when I see others struggling? Maybe it’s because I’m an empath and highly sensitive. Or maybe I’m just a little weird.
It’s not that I haven’t experienced hard times of my own. I’ve had my fair share of the roller coaster ride we call life: from sexual abuse as a young girl, to witnessing a murder-suicide when I was 13, to the death of my only nephew, to struggles with depression.
But still, I find myself wondering “Why not me?” whenever my family and friends have a mountain to climb. The most recent situation making me question everything is a friend and former colleague who recently revealed that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer last month.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I would not want to be in his shoes. My dad is a survivor of two bouts with squamous cell carcinoma and my brother is currently being treated for bladder cancer, so there’s always the thought in the back of my mind that someday it may be me.
But what really makes me question everything is that my friend, who is 40, has always been the epitome of health; he’s fit, runs races, bikes, is particular about what he eats. He’s easygoing and kind, married with two young children.
It just seems so unfair, I suppose. If I stop and reflect, I think “Why not me?” I enjoy eating tasty things that aren’t necessarily the healthy option, I’ve always had weight issues. I love yoga, but don’t run or bike. I tend to be a little more uptight than easygoing. And on top of it all — what really hits hard — I don’t have children.
I know it happens all the time, and a lot of it is based on genetics, but for a parent of young children to face such a mountain feels wrong. His wife and children love him and need him; he has so much to look forward to.
He’s dealing fairly well with it all, staying positive, while still being cognizant of the fact that stage 4 pancreatic cancer is a rough road to travel. He started an online journal to document his journey for family and friends to keep track of how he’s feeling along the way. Three chemo treatments down and he’s starting to lose his hair.
So it’s times like these that leave me wondering why the young husband, the dad with two kids younger than 10, the man who has the potential for more children, grandchildren and beyond.
It’s true. Sometimes life really isn’t fair. It can shake your faith and leave you questioning what lies just over the mountainous incline ahead. Here’s hoping and praying that my friend and his family join hands to help each other reach the peak and beyond.
Andrea “Andi” Joseph worked in newspapers for 18 years before transitioning to her current career as a website content writer and marketer. She lives south of Gilroy with her dogs, Bailey and Cricket. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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