Sometimes people ask me where I get my strength from. How I cope with this and still manage to smile.
And, let me tell you, it is not an innate ability for me.
I have to force it, work on it.
It is a constant process.
A big inspiration for me was, and is, my step-Dad, Robin,. He passed away from cancer almost 11 years ago. He was diagnosed, given only months to live, yet to us, still had that same old smile planted firmly on his face. I know that underneath it, his world was churning and he was terrified. But he knew he couldn't fall apart.
He showed me how to face adversity, albeit of a different kind. He showed me how to not give up.
Even though this was a lesson that would take a decade for me to fully appreciate. Until my diagnosis.
I was sent an email from one of his sisters today, telling me:
"I admire you and what you are doing so much. Robin would have been so proud of you."
And I hope (wherever he may be) that he is. The very thought of that makes me want to fight harder, advocate more, and remember how much he taught me.
Thank you, Jill, for making my heart smile with memories and happiness. And thank you, Robin, for being a great human being, and for passing some of that along.