As many of you know, we learned during the holidays that my partner, Bill, has stage four cancer in the wall of his abdomen. This came as quite a shock considering he appears to be perfectly healthy and mostly feels just fine. We would appreciate your prayers as we explore our options for the journey ahead. Although the doctors were brutally honest about the prognosis, because we are people of faith, and because Bill is otherwise in perfect health, we are resolved to make every effort to fulfill our life’s goal of celebrating our 65th anniversary 30 years from now.
When I began to push back against the doctor’s prognosis, I know he thought I was a typical spouse who was in denial about bad news. He might be right, at least to some extent. However, after serving as pastor of the Cathedral of Hope for 22 years during the worst of the AIDS crisis, I told him that I probably have seen as much death as he has and know its reality. I also know that doctors don’t get to decide when people die. We are going to fight this. If he is the doctor who can help us great; if not, perhaps he can refer us to someone who can.
We all are going to die. None of us actually believe it, but still it is true. The people we love most all are going to die. Still, it is a terrible shock to hear a doctor tell you it could be months instead of years or decades. Nonetheless, we all are going to die. The question is will we live? Will we seize this day and squeeze all the life from it that we can get?
We are in shock, of course, and waves of fear and grief sweep over us. However, some of you who read Liberating Word are people who were told you weren’t going to live, yet here you are. So, we are going to fight and pray and rely on your prayers, and, in the meantime, we are going to do exactly what I hope you will do every single day of this new year: Live. Live and love and laugh as much as you can, and help others do the same. Who knows which one of us will be the next to leave this place?
Rev. Michael Piazza