It Is What It Is

Those were the heart wrenching last words a friend dying of cancer said to me. It wasn’t the whole conversation, but those words exactly — words of complete acceptance and resignation — are the ones that I remember, and always will.

He occasionally worked as a bartender and was telling me about his mixology techniques while he mixed me a drink.  I wish I remembered what was in that drink, but I was too focused on fighting back tears. I honestly didn’t know how to go about it; how to comfort a person due to pass away within the next few days. So I just went with the flow of anything he said. Inevitably, the subject (his illness) came up. All I know is he cared deeply for his mother. She was his major concern. He really didn’t want her to suffer once he was gone.

“I try to tell her,” he said. “It is what it is.”

Blew me away. He had to accept at such young age (mid-twenties) the fact that he couldn’t change his circumstances. Death was essentially waiting for him across the room and he wasn’t at all terrified. Or at least he put on a hell of a brave face for his mother’s sake. He left this world a few weeks after that conversation.

All my life I’ve avoided going to wakes and funerals as much as possible. Not mean — just weak in the heart! But his…I had to, I wanted to. I was touched by his words. Other than accepting things that we really cannot change, he was another lesson that life can be too, too short and we must truly live it our way while we can.

Every time I see or hear these words now, I remember him. It also reminds me that, if nothing else, positivity can help us cope and face the toughest of all fights. May he keep resting in peace.

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