The Decision

         There comes a defining moment in your life when you must make a decision; you can either use your circumstances as a crutch or as a springboard.  Are you going to use what happened to you as the excuse for never following your dreams?  Or are you going to use it as the motivation to fulfill your Personal Journey?  The choice is yours…and only yours to make.

         Tyler was at his fraternity house, getting ready for his exam in ‘cost accounting’, when the call came.

         “Hello?” Tyler answered.

         “Honey, he’s not going to make it through the day.  You should come home now to say goodbye,” said Tyler’s mom.  He could hear the soft, sadness in her voice.

         “Ok, mom, I’m on my way.”

         Tyler called up his accounting professor and explained to him that he would need to make up the exam.  His professor understood completely, and let Tyler know that there wasn’t any rush in making it up.  All the professors in the business school knew what Tyler was going through, and they gave him the leniency and support he needed to get through this trying time in his life.

         Tyler hung up the phone, left his backpack and gym bag at the fraternity house, got in his car and started the painful, 30-minute journey back home.

         Thoughts of the past six months started flowing through his mind, drowning out the music playing in his car.  The doctors had given his father six months to two years, it had only taken six months for the cancer to do its evil bidding.

         Tyler was almost numb to the thought of his father passing over to the All Knowing.  He had watched the man that he admired most; the man who had taught him how to play baseball, the man who had taken him floating, fishing and camping, the person he loved more than anything else, dwindle from an athletic, 210 lbs. to an unrecognizable stick figure of barely 100 lbs. in less than half a year.  In fact, he had already said his goodbyes a couple of months earlier, when they thought he wasn’t going to make it through the day.  He had been very sickly then, but nothing like the skeleton version he was today.

         Guilt started to overtake Tyler as he continued to drive home, lost in his thoughts about not spending enough time with his father over the past six months.  He always went to the hospital to visit his father, but he rarely spent more than 30 minutes each visit, as it was unbearable to watch his father slowly erode away.  1,800 seconds seemed to be the maximum amount of pain he could endure in one sitting.  How selfish am I?  Think about the pain he is going through…and you can’t even bring yourself to sit with him for more than 30 minutes?  Tyler let the guilt sit in.

         Tyler finally pulled into the driveway, turned off the engine, took a deep breath, and then got out of the car.  He stood next to his car for just a moment, then headed to the house.

         When he walked inside, he was greeted by somber faces of his mother, neighbors and hospice workers.

         “I’m sorry Tyler.  He’s already gone,” said his mother.  “We’ll give you some time to go say ‘goodbye’.”

         Tyler walked into the bedroom.  His father’s body laid peacefully on the hospital bed that had been provided by Hospice.  Tyler walked over and stood silently, staring at the body that used to be his father, but was now only a thin shell, not holding anything.

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