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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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirstin Bonney March 5, 2014 at 2:52 PM

With your books, you gave me an amazing world to escape to when I wanted one. With your blog, you’ve given me inspiration and a reminder to keep my sense of hope in my daily life. Thank you for all you’ve contributed to my life. I’ll be rooting for you and your family!

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Brandon March 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Thank you, Kirstin, for the kind words. It means the world to me, and I’m glad you enjoyed Day Soldiers. And for the record, Book 5 will come… I just have to take care of this other little thing first. :)
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Gwen March 5, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Brandon, I am sure I am not the only one who intends to hold you to your promise. I love you two., and thank you for this post. You are right, I really needed to hear you say those words, and I am sure everyone else did too.

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Brandon March 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I always keep my promises, Gwen, so you have nothing to worry about there. :)
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S.W. March 6, 2014 at 4:34 AM

Well done, Brandon… You’re off to a good start. You’ll get through it, in time and then it will all be a life experience that will inspire you into the future. I’m in awe of my daughter’s bravery during her chemo battles over the past months. I’m sure that your family and friends are already in awe of yours.

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Brandon March 6, 2014 at 5:17 AM

Thank you, S.W. I’m honored to be compared to your brave daughter. Truly.
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Cossie Hale March 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM

I was sitting here in my office reading this blog post and it brought tears. To see a family member, a cousin, one to whom I looked up to as a child with such drive and courage, strength and yet so much compassion makes so proud. It’s hard to imagine it was so many years ago at your house in Riverview watching Saturday Nights Main Event and NWA Wrestling with you that my passion for the sport was born. I have to say thank you for the wonderful 17 years of memories I acquired from that passion that grew into a dream and became a career. I remember fondly those family gatherings, playing, looking in awe at the figures you made from tin foil and masking tape. My son reminds me so much of you, always creating, always making something, drawing and writing stories. So often we will be making some project he has dreamed up and I will tell him about you and how you would make these little dolls, these figures from tape and foil. You were always talented and even more so now. Always remember you are never alone, you have a family who loves you, who would walk through Hell and fight a circle saw with you. I remember in the academy the chief of police in Bristol Bill Price told us this..” No matter how bad your hurting, no matter how toured you are, no matter how much you want to just give up…YOU NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER STOP FIGHTING. Even if death overtakes you, by-god you kick him in the teeth, spit in his face….YOU KEEP FIGHTING. Because if you do quit and are overtaken I will cry with your family, I will honor you in your passing, I will attend your funeral and after all that I WILL DRAG YOU OUT OF THAT CASKET AND KICK YOUR ASS FOR QUITTING.” That is the very first thing that came to my mind reading this blog. I have no doubt you will conquer this trial and be stronger than before. Always remember we Love you, we are always thinking of you and your wife. Thank you for the passion then and for the encouragement I gatherd by this blog today. Love “little” Cossie.

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Brandon March 6, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Wow. Thank you, Cossie. Just… thank you.
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Natalie Osborne March 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Brandon–you’re the brother I’ve never met (although Glen is apparently your Doppleganger). The whole family is pulling for you, praying for you, and we believe in you. Just wanted you to know.

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Brandon March 6, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Thank you, Natalie.
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