When I got a message from him a few months ago, after a while of him not having responded to my last one... I was so gladdened.
This guy was terminal. I thought, like many friends I'd made through this blog, he was another one who'd passed... His story was another level of devastating though. His partner, who'd messaged me while he was circling the drain, was also a cancer patient. And he'd died while Aden, who's given me permission to share his name now, was unconscious. Aden had to wake up to that... after a life of abandonment and neglect at the hands of foster carers and this disease too... That was horrible... And when I heard that, at first, as I talked about in this post, I did't know what to say...
But I was doubly glad to get that message. Because in it - he told me that he had a shot at survival! His doctors were convinced by him to take some drastic measures. He wanted to live, and to share his story and help others, despite all his pain, SO BAD that he was willing to go through anything! And I kept him going, sharing funny jokes, amazing videos, being there for him, just talking - anything to keep him smiling.
But a few days ago, after us asking eachother how the other was (the capacity for people to care for others' pain, despite what they're going through themselves, always strikes me), he messaged me again... this time saying,
Again I didn't know what to say for a bit. What do you say to a dying man (he still, despite his attempts, would likely still die) when he's got nothing much left to live for?
For a while I agnoized over this... but eventually I decided to do what I'd heard Dr Teo, world leading brain surgeon, founder of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and PASSIONATE, REAL Doctor does... I've heard that when he sees patients, with what other doctors have pronounced "inoperable brain cancer" the first thing he says to the patient is "If I operate on you... there's an 80% chance you'll die, right there, on the operating table. If this works though... you'll have another half year of life. Before I operate... I want you to tell me: WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WITH THOSE 6 MONTHS?"
When I heard from someone that he'd said that to them... The raw power of that... the sheer will I saw it conferring onto others, struck me.
Without knowing it... I'd done something similar to others in the past. People going through depression, those who were looking for meaning in life... I'd told them to view their time on this world as a means to something, something most (though not all, I always let them help themselves) found, after talking to me, to be one that ended up leaving others happy. For my own purpose is to try and make this world as good a place as possible...
What better way of making yourself happy is there, I figure, than making someone else smile. Unlike money, power, fame, or women (or men)... that feeling of making a difference... that could never be taken away from you, or made to seem hollow or meaningless in the long run.
And then I'd told them that they COULD do all those things. That the only thing that limits them is themselves. That, even if they PHYSICALLY, or mentally couldn't do a few of those things right now... they could still do incredible things. And those incredible things, no matter how "tiny" they seemed... were still making incredible ripples to some. And that THAT'S what mattered in the end...
But again... what do you say to a dying person? After a while...
I told him this; " It's horrible what you've been through. And I wish I could do something to take it away, but I know I can't.
But one thing you do have power over is how much you can take out of your days. And that can still be lots.
It's not easy to see, especially when there seems no point to all this, especially all you've been through, especially if you're restricted by so many things... But there are some things in this world that are awesome and are beautiful and they are worth living for. The most beautiful of those I find is that of friendship. And that connection people can have to others... it can be awe inspiring.
Your friends, they're still there for you, right? Even if they're not always able to be there, I'm here - from across the world and happy to talk whenever I can about anything. And I WANT To. As do those friends who may just not know what to say right now." As you reading this know, I didn't for a few days too...
"But even if they're not - I found at some points. When going through the most depressing, painful points... that going back to the things that REALLY mattered, the things that are beautiful in their simplicity, made it worthwhile.
Watching things in nature got me to realise that again. I guess as a fisherman... the interactions everyday things have to eachother got me going. I know you love learning too... About how things work. That fascinates you. And you can still do that! No matter what.
But the thing that really matters is what you're doing right now... your work to make others see what its like. And to make others smile... And THAT my friend is something you can STILL DO!"
And a few days later... I realise now looking back... he wrote this post. Go read it. Go tell him how awesome he is, and wish him luck and well in his recovery from that surgery. Despite all he's going through... he's STILL doing this.
His words back, I'll always hold dear and treasured. His resolve and determination, will always inspire me. Indeed... it's often thoughts of him, and others I've felt pass... who keep me working on my cure for cancer and to help as many people in this world as I can.
And he assured me my words were good too... He told me, as part of his message back that "that was inspirational.. that was incredible.... I think i might do something like that.... And yes, if its no problem for you to do that.. if its no trouble, if you would like to.. I wouldnt mind if you linked my blog inside yours"