Last week’s blog on The Habit of Dealing with It prompted a response from Jacquie who called to talk about her brother who, for the past six months, has gallantly been battling cancer.
Jacquie explained that when Darren first became aware of his diagnosis their mother went into “drama-queen overdrive” and, with all good intention, created a family environment so fraught with panic that both Jacquie and Daren joked about, “running away and joining the circus.
Jacquie is 17, her brother, 13.
Jacquie lovingly talked about Darren’s being her hero. She explained how he has absolutely refused to allow his illness, or the unpleasant treatments interfere in any way with his life.
She says that Darren is a role model for all people because for him, cancer has become nothing more than an inconvenience that must be dealt with occasionally and ignored the rest of the time.
According to Jacquie, Darren has dragged himself to school on days when he has felt “sick beyond belief” and has continued to participate in as many of his previous activities as possible.
Darren will not discuss his illness simply because he refuses to acknowledge having one. He knows that something is going on inside his body that shouldn’t be happening but he does not allow, for one moment, anything associated with this to affect his life, his demeanour, or his infectious enjoyment of everything he does.
Jacquie explained that Darren personifies everything that The Habit of Dealing with It is meant to accomplish. He has set goals for himself not only for scholastic achievement at school but also in other areas of his life and he pursues his goals with the same zest that he always has.
To Darren, cancer is “just stuff” that he will deal with and get rid of and in no way will he allow it to gain any victory over him by impeding his activities.
His proud sister explained that on his many visits to the hospital he spends much of his time sharing his philosophy with other patients.
He tells them that the disease does not define them anymore than being defined by being left-handed or right-handed.
He patiently explains to all who will listen that if they focus on the good things in their lives and go through each day, as best as they can, doing the things they would ordinarily and normally do, then this will just become a tiny part of a much bigger whole.
Darren’s devotion to The Habit of Dealing with It has caught the attention of others and he is frequently asked to speak to groups of his peers and even adult groups around the state in which they live.
His doctors are astounded by the rapid progress he has made and are now confidently forecasting complete recovery whereas their earlier prognosis had been extremely guarded.
With a laugh in her voice Jacquie explained that Darren’s approach has helped calm their mother into becoming “manageable” and she and her brother enjoy great laughter when privately discussing how Darren has become the real adult in the family.
Life often deals us blows that knock us down. The Habit of Dealing with It measures not how often we fall but how often and how rapidly we rise. We cannot always control what happens to us but we always own our response and from everything Jacqueline told me Darren is rapidly becoming one of the great teachers of our era.
If at age 13 he can already manage his life as well as this and in so doing can be an inspiration to so many others, we cannot imagine how many untold thousands of lives he will touch in the future and with whom he will share the enormous benefits that come with The Habit of Dealing with It.
Earlier, Jacquie described him as her hero.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.