3 min read

For Dads Who Plan on Dying

I just read a Medium post from a man in his thirties who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, his last recurring blog post was from the summer of 2019 in late July, a few months after his cancer returned.
For Dads Who Plan on Dying

Let’s Remember to Live A Little First

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

I just read a Medium post from a man in his thirties who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, his last recurring blog post was from the summer of 2019 in late July, a few months after his cancer returned. He was marveling at how he made it to two years post diagnosis. He has three kids and was using his blog series, in part, to process his life and his messages to his kids.

Last Friday, I found out about a father who drown on a white water rafting trip with his son. The man was thrown from the raft and trapped by a rock underwater. His son and other friends in the raft worked to free him in time, but could not.

Each are heartbreaking stories.

Sometimes we die with a moment’s notice, sometimes we have years’ notice. I suppose more often than not, it isn’t enough time to say and do all the things we’d been meaning to get to.

Is one way to go better than the other, knowing the end is coming soon vs not knowing at all? Either way, we all die. We always hear that it’s the way we live that counts. What does that mean?

We live within our day to day reactions to the world around us, all those daily things … seeing that the milk is soured, that it’s a perfect fall day and the boy wants to play catch, that the car broke down, that the tulips bloomed, that our manager is clueless, that the spouse needs attention. How we handle the daily, mundane craft of being alive is a silent message to our kids and friends and colleagues, sent when we think no one is looking, when we are just living, because whether we know it or not, what we do matters.

Not that any of us should be conceited enough to be concerned with others “watching” us as we live. But the truth is, we matter, all of us, and people are influenced by our lives, for better or for worse. Especially those people we brought into the world.

What should we do?

We should live deliberately, knowing that we are empowered to be a force for good, for righteousness, for justice. Use our voice to speak up when others are silent. Demand satisfaction from our leaders. Seek righteousness for our neighbors. Grow up in joy and intellect and virtue. Steep our minds in wisdom and our hearts in the cleansing, rushing waters of humility.

What should we do?

We should remember the brevity of life. We are a handful of the 90 billion souls who walked this earth and, while we can recite the names of a hundred of the most famous, how much better to be embraced by the ones who most love us? Pause for a moment and love somebody, and allow ourselves to be loved.

What should we do?

We should love our wives. We should pause to look and listen to our brides and smile and let them know we adore them, the mothers of our children. They work hard on life, and no matter how hard life is on them, they seem to never give up working on us to help make us better men and fathers, because they are amazing. Be amazing back.

When I waited for life to discover me, I suffered.

When I went and looked for life, I thrived.

When I vacillated on direction, I stalled.

When I acted and built the best life I could with what was before me, I came alive.

Do not simply exist from day to day. Move to make life what you want it to be in a way that is meaningful to you—and not only for yourself, but for others who need a shoulder to lean on and walk alongside for awhile. We all fall down. It’s nice to know people care to help us get back up, when we are ready.

Dads, it’s coming. It is inevitable. And maybe sooner than we would like to think. So for today, for this moment, live like they’re watching. Because the ones who matter, are.