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Kill 'Em With Kindness: Optimism key to surviving tough times

Last Wednesday my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, for the third time. They said she is now in stage four. Upon hearing this, my first reaction was to think of how bad this really is. Could her years really be numbered? My second reaction was reminiscing about her.

For those of you who know someone that has cancer, you know that it sucks. For those of you who don’t know someone that has cancer, it really sucks. 

After my emotions twisted through anger, fear, sadness and optimism I really started to think about the little things. Being almost three hours away from home and hearing news like that is extremely hard. As a freshman with no car, I can’t just drive home the moment something bad happens. 

Having no homework or other commitments that night I found out about my aunt, I spent a lot of time thinking about the situation. So, my aunt has stage four breast cancer again, with a 13-year-old daughter and a family that adores her. 

I couldn’t stop thinking about my aunt’s smile and crazy jokes. She can make you laugh until you cry with either an inappropriate joke or her optimistic view on life. After reminiscing on the beauty of her, I realized one thing.

She can get through this. 

Optimism is a pretty powerful concept. According to my Psych 101 class, optimism has led to higher survival and happiness rates in either temporary or terminally ill patients, or has just impacted the overall quality of life. My aunt is the most optimistic person I know. She already has her wigs bought and has big events planned for the year. This awful C-word isn’t going to slow her down. 

When things happen suddenly like this, it makes you realize how important the little things are in life. It is nearly impossible to appreciate every second of every moment you have with someone. I guess the idea is to make those seconds count. Then, when you do need to remember them, you aren’t regretting the times you had or the things you said.

The most important thing is to keep hoping and fighting for people with cancer. You never know when someone is going to get in a car wreck, have a heart attack or be diagnosed with cancer. 

Moments shouldn’t be spent bickering over where to eat or what movie to go see; they should be spent laughing. I know it is also impossible not to be upset. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible unless you have a psychological disorder. It’s human to feel angry or hurt. 

The important thing is to fix the relationship to perfection. With my awful guilty conscience, I am unable to go without fixing my relationship with someone. I don’t want to lose someone knowing my last words to them weren’t of any importance.

Life is too short to be spent anything but happy. Take it from my aunt. She’s only 41. 

Meagan Dixon is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. If you have a loved one with cancer, email her at 

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