I have reached an unsettling stage in my life where death is making its bold presence more and more often. In the past few years, I have been hit hard with the loss of my grandmother to cancer and brother-in-law to suicide. At my place of employment, I developed good relationships with three coworkers who lost their battles to cancer at an early age. IT. DOES. NOT. FEEL. GOOD to watch loved ones struggle so terribly only to disappear forever. Sure, there are believers in afterlife, me included, but the certainty shatters after losing those people in our lives. I have been blessed to have avoided death’s direct, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking pain of losing loved ones for the majority of my life. There have been deaths in my family when I was a child, but I hardly understood the situation due to being so young. I now know that death makes us want to cling tight to our loved ones and never let go. Despite its horrors, it is very eye-opening, offering a crucial lesson on how to live a life with purpose. And that is to love whole-heartedly.
The past couple years, I have intensely questioned the cause of cancer. I know that smoking causes cancer. That has been drilled into my head since forever ago. But, some people lead healthy lives by exercising and eating well balanced diets with no luck of avoiding it. One of my coworkers that I truly admired and looked up to passed away six months ago from cancer. She always brought healthy lunches of oatmeal, fruit, etc and appeared to be leading a fairly healthy lifestyle. It was very shocking to learn of her illness and watch her suffer the way she did. It was at that moment that I started looking at the lifestyles of my family and friends.
What are we doing wrong? Why do our bodies produce these masses that spread all over inside us and, thus, forcing us to whither away into nothing? If the healthiest person can end up dying of cancer, what is the point of trying to lead healthy lives? There must be SOME way to reduce our chances of developing cancer, something more than just eating healthy and exercising.
[These questions are the very reason the Mommy & Love blog has recently changed directions. I am still writing about our family lifestyle, but it will be more focused on healthier and greener ways of living.]
I think we have a better chance at living cancer-free lives if we focus on building more sustainable and self efficient communities. Society has had its fun inventing and mass producing everything ever thought possible and now it is time to start relearning the basics. We need to stop running to the store to buy poor quality, unsustainable products due to commercialism, materialism, and pure laziness. It is time to start contributing to our own food supply by growing organic (avoiding synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms) gardens and humanely raised livestock. Any bit of food that you can produce by yourself, helps to sustain human and environmental health. We should also be making or buying natural based household cleaners and beauty products to cut back on harsh and potential cancer-causing chemicals. We need to go back to our roots and relearn how to reduce consumption, reuse what we can, recycle to slow pollution, and depend less on the world market for survival. A great book to read on this subject is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. It teaches us to think about the entire cycle of life for one product; from labor and materials needed, transportation to market, and disposal; and then, to buy responsibly. We need to focus on using products that do not create negative consequences on the environment, and therefore, OURSELVES.
It is not just one thing that is causing cancer. It is a multitude of millions of tiny, unintended consequences grouped together that formed our society’s big, bad monster. I believe that cancer is a man-made illness resulting from our inability to live in harmony with nature. This is the only conclusion I can draw that makes sense to me. And it is good enough for me to start making permanent lifestyle changes now.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on these issues.