If I Die Young

Before last week, I had never heard of Kevin Sharp.  He was a country music artist who died April 19th at age 43.  He was a childhood cancer survivor, diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma his senior year of high school.  He battled side effects of treatment, like most childhood cancer survivors do.  His death was caused by past stomach surgeries and digestive issues.  I recently started watching and listening to his music videos on youtube.  It is so sad to me…  He had great potential and so many great years ahead of him, if only.

I have a love-hate relationship with the song at the top of this post.  I love it for the obvious reasons – it is a great song and Kimberly Perry has a lovely voice.  It is reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables and  Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott.  I love the metaphors in it.  To tell the truth, I love anything and probably everything with metaphors in it (ahem, Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  I love the fact that the song is both easy and hard to understand at the same time.  I think it is genius.  But it is extremely sad because it holds so much truth.  People die young all the time.  Sometimes we know their names, but most of the time we don’t.  But someone, somewhere, knows and misses them.

What happened to Kevin Sharp could happen to any number of my friends who are childhood cancer survivors, and it could happen to me.  This is a truth I’ve been carrying around for some time now.  It doesn’t scare me at all.  I know where I am going, and I know who I’ll see.  But I hope to have done something with my life other than what I have been doing lately, which is laying around, feeling terrible, and doing almost nothing with my time.  Hopefully I will get answers soon about the feeling terrible part.  This isn’t the way I thought my life would go.  I really doubt Kevin Sharp thought he would be gone at 43 when he beat cancer.

Kevin’s Make-A-Wish was to meet music producer David Foster, who gave him advice about how to begin his career as a singer.  He was a motivational speaker and a spokesman for Make-A-Wish Foundation as well.  I am heartbroken for his family and friends.   I wish I knew about him before when he was alive, when his great voice wasn’t shadowed with the sadness of a life cut shorter than it should have been.  I wish I could have met him at least once, shook his hand and perhaps given him a hug and a smile and say “thank you for sharing your light with the world.”  We need more people like him in this world, and it is a tragedy when such a life is gone too soon.

I wish I could track down all the childhood cancer survivors out there, especially those who feel like they are alone.  I understand this feeling all too well.  I wish I had a support group that I could have gone to growing up.  I wish I knew how bad and how very NOT RARE childhood cancer was, and the truth is, I wish I knew my fellow childhood cancer survivors for longer than I have.  I am so grateful that I know them now.  I don’t like the fact that others are suffering with the side effects of harsh and brutal ADULT treatments given to bodies still growing.  It is terrible that very little money is going into pediatric cancer research.  Just terrible.  Survivors have been paying and they are continuing to pay a heavy cost for it, and that is not fair. It needs to change sooner rather than later.

Make the most of the time you have.  You are blessed if you are healthy and have healthy kids.  THANK GOD every single day for your health and the health of your family.  Don’t take it for granted.



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