In the final analysis, though, the laughter managed to outweigh the tears.
In February, Dad’s health was holding up and he was given the green light to go on the cruise. But then four days before we were to board, the very cruise ship we had booked caught fire in the Caribbean. Our once-in-a-lifetime cruise — our last great memory with Dad — was canceled.
Talk about odds.
It was about this time that I felt justified in sending a few strong objections heavenward. Of course, when I read about the unpleasantries the poor passengers on that cruise were subjected to, I quickly retracted my objections. There’s always a bright side — at least we hadn’t boarded one week earlier.
Mom rallied almost immediately and re-booked the cruise (eventually having to re-book two additional times because of repair delays). Barring another catastrophe, our cruise is now set for June. Mom would have been completely justified in yelling at her booking agent and giving up. Most would have.
Instead, Mom persisted. Reality was what it was, she figured, but she wasn’t going to let this cruise go down without a fight. I could hardly blame her.
Three weeks ago, we received news that Dad’s cancer is officially in 100 percent remission. His oncologist calls it a miracle.
Time passed. Dad soldiered on. And then came the twist of all twists.
Three weeks ago, we received news that Dad’s cancer is officially in 100 percent remission. His oncologist calls it a miracle. Having never dared hope for that outcome, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for this incredible gift of more time — a gift that most families in our situation don’t receive.
But what if the ending had been as predicted? What if we were attending a funeral for my dad instead of going on a cruise with him? Obviously, it would be terribly sad. We would mourn and we would miss him. And someday — since we know that cancer will eventually claim his life — we will.
Here’s what’s significant, though: Regardless of outcome, I will always be grateful for my parents’ approach to such difficult circumstances. They chose to laugh more than they cried. They chose optimism and faith. They chose not to go down without a fight. They chose hope.
For our family, those choices made — and still make — all the difference. We experienced first-hand that choosing hope is truly the only choice worth making — no matter the odds.
By way of tribute to the millions of families who are battling cancer and other unfavorable odds: Here’s to hope.