This is the title of my Dad’s book “Good News: Surviving Cancer”, published a few years ago. I am in the process of revising the book to publish as an e-book. My hope is to reach my dad’s goal of inspiring and comforting people suffering from life-threatening illnesses or caring for a loved one who is sick.
Our last picture together
I would like to share some highlights from the book which I think can be an inspiration to all of us trying to find purpose in what we do. But first, a brief overview of how this story came about.
My dad, Raul Munoz, was born in Mexico, in a town called Morelia, 200 miles west of Mexico City, on December 7, 1948. He was the third of eight siblings. He was raised in a conservative Catholic family and at the age of 12 joined the Seminary to become a priest. He completed middle school and high school with the Holy Spirit Missionaries and at the age of 18 decided he wanted to get married and have a family. He found a job and a couple of years later he met my mom. They got married after a short courtship and welcomed me into the family shortly after; my brother was born almost three years later . He held different corporate jobs as a computer analyst and later as a sales manager and trainer. He was a teacher at heart. He decided to pursue permanent Diaconate in the Catholic church additionally to his career and was ordained in January of 1990. He served as a deacon for 18 years and was loved by his congregation.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer, as a result of having been a smoker for 38 years. It was a very difficult journey, but he decided to share his story in his journal-style book. He underwent two treatment cycles, with a brief remission period in between. They included chemotherapy, radiation and radical surgery. He ultimately lost the battle on December 28, 2007. Unfortunately, the book did not have a happy ending.
However, these are some of the life lessons I learned from him which I would like to share with you:
- Bad things may happen to you, but they don’t define you. He said “I will heal, or I will die, but cancer is not going to last forever”.
- Even in the midst of extreme pain and suffering, you can find purpose. He decided to share his experience as a cancer patient in his book to let others know that the worse part about the illness is not death, but despair.
- It never hurts to pray for what you want. He prayed that he would be healed. We all did. We had prayer chains going literally around the world so God would allow him to be with us some more. We also prayed for the strength to let him go, out of love and out of wishing him no more suffering.
He was 59 years old when he passed away, and there isn’t a day when I don’t miss him. Every time I see someone smoking, especially young parents of little kids, I feel like shaking them up and sharing my story. If as an adult I struggle so much with my dad’s untimely death, I can’t imagine what it would be like for a young child to lose a parent. His death also puts my life in perspective. He lived a Christ-centered life and spent his life in service of others. He changed many hearts and left a legacy of love and unconditional trust in God. I, one day, hope to do the same.
What would you like to leave as a legacy?