Every single morning and evening I have a routine of checking my social media such as facebook. One group/page in particular is always on mind and agenda. The FB prayer group for my friend Clint Miller.
I met Clint and his vivacious wife, Angela, years ago when we were all living in Campus Housing at the University of Montana. They had the unfortunate privilege of living in the apartment below this family of nine. I constantly worried about the million and one sounds they must have endured on a daily basis, but Angela and Clint constantly reassured us "it's all good." We saw each other in passing, as our lives were very busy at that point in time and on occasion we would have a passing conversation or two. After we moved, we lost touch. The wonderful world of facebook reunited us once again.
Shortly after adding Angela to my facebook, I discovered Clint was diagnosed with cancer. Damn cancer. Just when I think I sometimes carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and I want to lie down and whine and kick about what life is throwing my way, I think of them. I think of Angela facing the prospect of raising her children, two beautiful boys, without her lover and friend by her side and it slaps my face with the reality there are truly bigger things in life than the struggles I currently handle. She has faced "this" with grace, tenacity, and a fortitude which inspires me. Clint has faced it with hope, humor, and a fighters spirit.
This week Angela posted on the prayer board her thoughts on hospice. It reminded me that every person their lives have touched has been forever changed. Their struggle and this path they have walked has altered and enhanced who I am and how I view the world. It has opened my eyes to what it means to truly live. It has shown me the love, comfort, and support all of us in the family of mankind can and should grant to one another. Even Lance Armstrong has extended letters of encouragement to Clint and I have read Clint would love nothing better to share a beer with Mr. Armstrong!
I struggled with which blog to post this under. I paused a moment and realized how much I have learned about faith through Clint. In the face of the unknown and unthinkable this beautiful couple has blessed so many. Angela's words are posted here with her permission. I ask you to read them, pray for this beautiful family and those who love them. She is one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I thank her for sharing her life in all its aspects with me.
by: Angela Miller
Hospice is not about giving up. It is not about dying - it is about LIVING while you're dying. "Hospice" seems to be the four-letter word in the cancer jargon as if it to never leave our lips, cleansed from our vocabularies, and left to shrivel on the vine as some white flag of surrender. Is there a psychological hump that needs to be gotten over to say, "It's time for this?" Yes. I'm not going to lie that just like any other help in life, you have to acknowledge you need it before you can get it.
But - let's face it - we're all dying. Every one of us. All 921 of us on this board are dying. We only have so many grains in the hourglass. Some more, some less, and the funny thing about life is we just don't know how many there are or how fast they are pouring out. Terminal cancer - or any terminal illness - doesn't make a mortal being. It simply magnifies mortality that we've all been had with us since conception. Life is truly a sexually transmitted affliction that nobody lives through. Anticipatory death - like pregnancy and birth being about anticipatory life - is a process. And, like pregnancy and birth, it isn't something that should be done alone and with anything less than the best supportive care, advice, medicine, emotional support, and love.
As many of you may know, Clint Miller enrolled on hospice over a month ago and it has been the biggest blessing and one of the greatest unsung resources in modern medicine. It takes a special breed of person to be a hospice nurse and I'm pleased to say that we've hit the jackpot.
No, we never wanted it to be this way. This wasn't our "happily ever after." But, if it has to be this way, then I can lay my head on my pillow every night and know that we're doing this the right way and that we've risen to the occasion for "happily." The "ever after" is up to us . . .