This is a commencement speech given by Randy Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, to graduates of Carnegie-Mellon. I read that his cancer has now metastasized to his lungs and into his abdominal cavity. Those of us with appendiceal cancer know about abdominal cancer metastasis.
His words reflect profound wisdom. That we don’t beat the grim reaper by living longer, but by living well and living fully. The reaper will eventually come for us all. We need to follow the passions we have that comes from our heart, and in the end our purpose will be about people and relationships, not money and awards.
I have always been a passionate person, and different passions have come into my life over time. I am passionate about my husband and kids, passionate about my music, about learning, passionate about words, about my work. Now my cancer experience has made me passionate about being an advocate for those diagnosed with cancer.
I have communicated with so many wonderful and courageous people diagnosed with and battling cancer. I’ve also communicated with many wonderful and inspiring surgeons and oncologists who treat those of us with cancer. And most recently I’ve met and communicated with many brilliant and passionate scientists who want to see the devastation cancer brings into lives become thing of the past. So it has been about people and relationships, even moreso since cancer. My life has been infinitely richer and more purposeful as a result of my cancer experience, though cancer made it feel like hell for a long time.
What made me cry when I saw this video, though, was Randy Pausch passionately speaking of and kissing his wife following the commencement address. He said he knew she was the one when her happiness became to him more important than his own.
My husband has had that same respect for me for two decades, he puts my happiness before his own. He supports me in whatever I am passionate about, he has made me able to do the work and devote the volunteer time to cancer advocacy that I do. It takes up a large part of my time now, and he supports me in that. He has always supported me in my passions.
Sometimes I wish my husband was more passionate about more things…but I got to thinking that maybe he sacrifices his own passions so I can realize mine. If I am any help to anyone else, it’s only because my husband, has helped me and supported me in doing so. He’s my hero, but in a round-about way he’s yours too if I’ve made a difference to you. Please know that. My husband is my life’s greatest gift. Something about watching this video made me truly appreciate that. I am very blessed.