With This Moment

By Piper Bayard

My teenage baby had her first life setback this week in the form of a blown out knee. Physically, her path will not be a mystery. Surgery, rehab, and a new talent for predicting the weather. Emotionally, she will learn that we can’t control everything, and whining doesn’t change anything. Good life lessons to learn when one has a lifetime to practice them.

Cancer taught me those lessons in my youth, but because I lived, it was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I know what my time is worth.


Angelina Jolie brought cancer to the forefront this past week by having a double mastectomy based on genetic testing. Many people are judging her harshly for parting with healthy parts, while others are reading her story and finding the strength to let go of some parts in their own bids for life. After all, Angelina hardly needs breasts to be a whole woman.

As this debate was going down in social media, my own friend, Susie Lindau, told me she was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I advised her as I would Angelina if that icon suddenly turned into someone who gave a damn what I thought. “This is YOUR journey. You get to do it YOUR way.” One of the lessons I was blessed with on my own path.

But sometimes, the lessons of a lifetime don’t come with a lifetime to live them. Sometimes, the lessons only lead to good-byes.

Zach Sobiech, age 18, died of cancer on Monday. I can’t help but think the question . . . Why him and not me? Cancer taught me that some questions have no answers, but they can still lead to conclusions. My conclusion? We have this moment. What we do with it is ours alone to answer for.

Zach Sobiech lived his lessons and used his moment to say good-bye to the people he loved in the form of a song.

Today, I raise a toast to those who live their lessons in this moment. May we all fly a little higher.

24 comments on “With This Moment

  1. Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear that. Prayers to Susie. And having gone through a similar adjustment with OS #1- it’s not easy but you come out the other end.

  2. Alexandra Rosas posted a piece about this video yesterday. She warned people not to watch it until they are alone, late at night. I waited. And last night I wept like a baby. What an amazing person. He was truly an old soul, even before cancer touched his life, he got it.

    I’m so proud of Susie. She’s a fighter, that one. And she will do whatever is necessary to make sure she is here for a long, long time.

  3. I watched that video yesterday at work, and sobbed. My boss thought I was out of my mind, but I don’t care. I agree, he was an old soul. Bless you, Piper.

  4. If it hadn’t been for you, I might have missed this song, Piper. Thank you for the reminder that some of our greatest tragedies bring out strengths we didn’t know we had.

    Susie is a fighter. Your advice to her? Let’s just say, I’d pester you for advice (given the opportunity and access) should I face a life or soul wrenching choice. It was stellar.

    Yes. Your daughter will heal. It will be a long road. But, you survived so she could be on this earth and be blessed with a fighter of a mom to help her through this.

  5. susielindau says:

    I just looked up Zach on Caringbridge.. Shivers. He lived a lot longer than a few months, but it is such a sad story. Thanks for the inclusion. Give your daughter a hug for me!

  6. Kids feel invincible – hard lesson, but an important one. Hope she heals physically and mentally with ease. (Hard to watch , I know)
    Stupid ignorant people criticizing Angelina. They don’t know.
    Your advice to Suzy was spot on.
    Multiple cancer survivors/ living with cancer-they-can’t-kill but-are-able-to-stop-for-a-bit in this family. Makes you look at thing differently. Cheers and dance on!

  7. Jess Witkins says:

    I’m so sorry your daughter was injured. A friend of mine went through that, so I understand what a long and daunting process it is. But she’s got great support having a mother like you, and you’ve helped me as well being able to talk about cancer and believe in hope. My sister has overcome it 3x now, and is expecting her second child. 🙂 We’re capable of great things.

  8. Amy Shojai says:

    Wow. Thanks for this.

  9. Sorry about your daughter, Piper. But what a moving, inspiring post! And you hit me on a mopey morning, in that between book slump where I’m at serious risk of becoming whiney. About everything. Your wake up call was exactly what I needed.”Cancer taught me those lessons in my youth, but because I lived, it was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I know what my time is worth.” Wow, Piper. Just wow. That is indeed a gift. That you can see that is why you’re invaluable to those who come to know you. Thank you.

  10. tedhenkle says:

    Best wishes to your daughter for a speedy and complete recovery. Thanks for posting.

  11. Catherine Johnson says:

    Gosh that was heartbreaking. He seemed such a gentle soul. Susie will get through this, she’s a trooper.

  12. susan spann says:

    Wow. And Amen.

    Please pass on my thoughts and prayers to Susie. I hope to hear good news of her recovery soon. Also, I hope your daughter is recovering well and learning to use even setbacks as opportunities to grow stronger.

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