Art of Dying Volume II | Page 18


I ’ ve stopped

thinking about how the world impacts me or I impact the world because it ' s too big .

Most people probably don ' t start thinking about their own mortality until much later in life . At that point they don ' t have the ability to change or to focus on the relationships that matter . One of the things I always have to remind people of is that I started writing napkin notes to my daughter for five or six years before my first cancer diagnosis . I recognized that there was this need to have more interaction and a better relationship with my daughter .
If my doctors came to me and said , " By the way Garth we made a mistake . You don ' t have cancer anymore . Go off treatment , do whatever ," I wouldn ' t change how I ' m going to live the rest of my life . I recognize that my physical being is a really short time . Any one of us can die tomorrow or this afternoon .
I ’ ve stopped thinking about how the world impacts me or how I impact the world because it ' s too big . I just need to share our story and write a note to Emma every day and everything else is going to take care of itself . I value the privilege to share our story . I share the interactions that Emma and I have had and how the notes have impacted our life . Then I let it be . People can take our story and hopefully use it to impact their own lives .
I ' ve had to mature and come to recognize that I am mortal like everybody else on the planet . But I just have it kind of up front and center in my life . On top of that , I still need to , every day , be a husband and a dad .
The past few years everything about me has changed . There was a time when I wasn ' t spiritually , mentally , or emotionally in a good place . I made a conscious decision to walk away from that path . I was always thinking about death . I was not able to project out into the future . It was impacting how I interacted with my family , not because I was actually avoiding a lot of family interactions , but because I had this shroud of death around me .