Ten Lessons for Enriching Life Learned by a Cancer Survivor. Afterword.
Editor’s note: A Tenth Anniversary Remembrance is a CancerForward series of blog posts attributed to the late Mariana Dieste Mead, MD, who fought pancreatic cancer for four years. In their original format, the posts are excerpts of “Ten Lessons for Enriching Life Learned by Confronting Death” written by Dr. Mead in collaboration with Clare Broun Johnson. The CancerForward series appears July 29 through August 9, 2012.
Afterword by Mariana Dieste Mead, MD (1955 – 2002)
I hope I’ve touched your hearts and souls in some meaningful way today. My goal is to awaken sleeping souls. By sharing my newfound insight, I want to lift spirits as well as individual awareness. Please take a bit of today’s message and use it to enrich your lives.
I also want to include a disclaimer: these ten lessons can never be collectively achieved, only individually experienced during your lifetime. They are not lofty goals to conquer. Rather, they are lessons personally learned by my stepping forward, then falling back, and then stepping forward again and again. You won’t always get it right. We’re human, after all. This process of moving forward and stumbling back is how we grow and become smarter, wiser, deeper people. Whenever you stumble, recognize that it’s part of the growing process, forgive yourself, and move on.
Graduates: you should be very, very proud of yourselves. I have chaperoned your dances, attended you Declamation, saw your production of “The Lion King” and examined your inventions. You are talented, smart, and beautiful. Keep looking at your lives and keep working on them, But most importantly, keep on being you. I wish you all well, and please remember:
- Seize each day…and live it as if it were your last on earth.
- Life isn’t fair…but it’s your setbacks that will make your soul shine.
- Rejection scars, but laughter heals the wounds…always laugh with someone, not at them.
- Strive to do what it is right and true; always take the high road.
- Your soul is the sum of all you’ve done with your freedom…so try to make wise choices.
- Honor and cherish your parents and guardians.
- Work hard to make the world a better place.
- Dream the impossible.
- Share memories. Tell your family and friends how you feel.
- Make memories in everyday ways, as they will always bind you and yours together.
Godspeed. I wish you well.