By Sara Elias
There are dates that hold in your memory for a lifetime; June 28th, 2008 … the day he proposed; September 26th, 2009 … the day we married; November 10th, 2012… the day our son was born. The years go by and while I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, I can tell you minute for minute how things happened on those days. Where we were, what we said, how we felt; they were days of joy and memories I cherish. There are other dates in my life that have also had the same effect, I can give you a play by play of how things happened, not because of the joy that they brought but simply for the mark that they left that has forever changed my life. June 11th, 2013 … the day my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
It was stage IV lung cancer. We got the news at 9:00am and by around noon we were in with an oncologist. We asked typical questions as we tried to wrap our brains around what was happening. It seemed unreal. We had just bought a new house three months before and our son was only seven months old. My husband, Victor, who was 40 years old at the time, was a scuba diver, he rode motorcycles and was active. Besides the cough he seemed healthy.
It was the summer that the new Superman movie was coming out… Man of Steel. Victor had been looking forward to it, and it quickly became our slogan for his fight, “Super Vic, the Man of Steel.” This was a man who swam in oceans with sharks and drove race cars. He was no ordinary man and it would be no ordinary fight.
Victor was diagnosed on a Tuesday and that Sunday was going to be his first Father’s Day. We had planned to have both of our families at our house to celebrate. Everyone suggested that we cancel or have someone else host, that there was just too much going on for us to have so many people for a “celebration”. It was at that time that we made the decision to live our lives. To cherish every moment we have with our family and friends and not allow cancer to push us into a corner of isolation.
We continued this mind set throughout his journey and I encourage others to do the same. Slow down a bit, have lunch with your spouse, stay up late with your kids, call your best friend and smile at a stranger. Don’t wait for something to rock your reality to remind you how precious our lives are.
On May 27th, 2016 a new date was forever marked on my mental calendar. The day my husband’s battle ended; just two weeks shy of his three year diagnosis and three weeks before Father’s Day. And while this Father’s Day he will not be here with us physically, his spirit will be strong. Our family and friends will gather at our house to celebrate fatherhood. For all of the men who have played a role in our lives and for the ones that will be like a father to our son. Nothing can break the bond and love we have for our family and nothing shows more love than continuing to honor his spirit by living our lives to the fullest.