We are all Terminal…So, #liveeachday
Full Name: Rachel Cantu
In Honor of: Jonah Cantu
Type of Cancer: Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)
Hi! My name is Rachel Cantu and I have the privilege of being mom to two amazing boys, Jonah and Gabriel, and wife to my high school sweetheart, David. Our story is one of love, fun, family, tragedy, and eternity.
“Ma’am, I am so sorry to have to tell you this news. Your son has a mass roughly the size of a golf ball deeply seated in his brain.” WAIT, WHAT?! NO!! GOD, PLEASE SPARE MY CHILD!! I would have done anything, moved mountains, laid down my own life in exchange for his, spent any kind of money, gone to the ends of the earth to find treatments, my mind swirled in a mix of panic and desperate desire to hold onto every little moment. Jonah was 14 at the time, an awesome student, friend, skateboarder, WWII history buff, all-around cool kid finding his way in the world. What I didn’t realize at the time is that Jonah was and is one of the wisest souls I have ever met—and I got to be his MOM!!
What do you do when your child is diagnosed with a terminal disease?! This was like being in a train headed for the drop-off at the end of the tracks and not knowing exactly where the tracks end. There are things you can do to slow the train down a bit, but it is still headed for the drop-off at the end…it is just a matter of time. All of a sudden, TIME becomes the most precious commodity on the planet…in our universe.
So, we had a choice as a family. We could spend our precious time asking WHY US?, WHY JONAH? OR, we could make a conscious decision to NOT WASTE ONE MOMENT. We still had surgeries and treatments and cancer stuff we had to do—these things were a conscious investment of our precious time to try to slow down the train. BUT, all of the time we didn’t have to spend on cancer stuff we spent LIVING…like each day could be our last because it COULD! We didn’t discuss timelines or prognosis, we just took life one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.
“You know you guys…(finger extended and commanding attention with wisdom beyond his years)…WE ARE ALL TERMINAL!” I don’t know if I have ever heard wiser words spoken by anyone, let alone spoken around my dinner table by my own son! Jonah was 14 years old, dealing with brain surgery, radiation, chemo, and everything else that goes along with facing The Thief, Cancer, and this was something he wanted everyone to understand.
You see, what Jonah knew and what our whole family has learned is that none of us are promised ANYTHING but this very moment. WE ARE ALL TERMINAL. We are all on that train headed for the drop-off at the end of the tracks—cancer just gives us a little more visibility and knowledge of how long those tracks might be. None of us are getting off of this planet without dying and we all have a choice about how we will spend our time we do have while we are here. Will you spend your time doing something that matters for eternity or will you spend it striving and searching for temporary things that this earthly life offers in this terminal life we are all living here? My choice is to #liveeachday #inlightofeternity. Jonah Forever!!