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Promises | Books From Hale

Promises

by Brandon

This one is gonna’ be intensely personal, but when I promised to take you on this journey, I knew I would be letting you all see sides of me that have, up to now, remained private. If I’m not completely open, there’s no point in doing these blogs, so here goes…

Before I go on, I want to let you know that I never post about my wife without her permission first. I don’t want you to think I’m dragging her into this. I’m not. She’s chosen to share herself with you, through me.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

Last night, my wife and I were hanging out in the living room. I was sitting in the floor while my wife was playing the video game, Everquest 2. It’s her happy place, and it helps her find much needed distraction through this difficult time. My safe zone lately has been Star Trek; hers is EQ2.

So anyway, we were chatting and basically just doing nothing important.

As her character on the screen killed various kobolds and goblins, my wife said, “Is it bad that I’m ready to be done with this?”

“With what?” I asked. “EQ?”

“No,” she said quietly.

“Oh,” I said, realizing she was referring to my diagnosis and the fight ahead. “No, it’s not bad. I’m ready to be done with it too. We’re in for a rough ride.”

“Can I just go to sleep and have somebody wake me up when it’s all over?” she said.

“Only¬† if I can join you,” I said.

She was quiet for several more seconds, then said, “I want you to promise me something.”

That’s when I realized she was crying.

“Anything,” I said.

“Promise me,” she went on, her voice breaking , “that no matter how bad it gets, you’ll never stop fighting. Never. You can get whiny if you want, but even then, please, Bran… please… never stop fighting.”

Since this whole thing started, my wife and I have developed an odd tradition. There’s a spot in our living room floor, just in front of the TV, that has become an oddly significant location for us. When one of us breaks down, we both sit in that spot on the floor, hug each other, and let the tears flow. It has become our “free crying zone.”

Well, I immediately pulled my wife down to the floor, held her while she cried, and began to make some promises.

As I made my promises, I realized that my wife isn’t the only person who needs to hear them. There are many, many people in my life who likely want to hear those same promises, so instead of speaking to each of you individually, I’m going to do it here.

To my Mom, my Dad, my brother, my sister, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my two nieces, my two nephews, and every other person who is worried about me, here are my promises to you…

I promise I will never stop fighting.

This is a battle I’m going to win, and there will never, ever be a time when the fight leaves me. Even if the cancer were to win (which it won’t!) I would go down fighting. Sure, I’ll have weak days… I’ll have days where I’m very whiny… I’ll have days where I cry often… but during all that, I give you my solemn promise that I will never stop fighting. No matter how much this disease beats me down, I’ll always get back up and say, “Is that all you got?”

I promise I will never wish for death.

I know, I know, this one’s incredibly morbid and seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really not as simple as it sounds. All too often, I’ve seen people in pain who reach the point (understandably) that they just want the pain to end… even if that end comes from dying. I promise you all, that day will never come for me.

I don’t fear death. I know that sounds like completely bullshit, but I really don’t. I am a very spiritual guy, and I’m not afraid to die.

But I don’t welcome it either. Eternity is forever, but this life isn’t, so I plan to stay here as long as I possibly can… because at the end of the day, I love this world and this life.

So you can take my promises to heart and you can believe me when I say I will never give up and I will never stop fighting.

Ever.

Because, really, that’s how I’m going to win this.

But wait! There’s more! I have one more thing to say…

I’m okay.

Really.

I’m good. When I write these positive blogs, I’m not feeding you bullshit. I really am happy. I really am doing well. I really do have complete faith that I’m going to beat this.

There is great suffering in this world… suffering that far exceeds what I’m going through. Yes, I have cancer. But I also have a home. I have family and friends who love me dearly. Since announcing my diagnosis, I have seen immeasurable levels of kindness from people I know and from complete strangers.

I have a fight ahead of me. I have some challenges to face.

But I am a lucky man.

And I’m not losing sight of that.

So when you ask how I’m doing and I say, “I’m doing well,” please don’t think I’m lying for your benefit, because I’m not.

I really am doing well.

Yes, life is hard.

But life is also good.

It really is.

So take a deep breath and rest easy in the knowledge that I’m okay and these hard times won’t last forever.

In the near future, this fight will be over and I’ll still be around.

Count on it.

I love you all.

–Bran


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