UNITED STATES—I do not know what is going on, but I feel like the past 6 weeks of my life has been utter hell. Week after week after week I get bad news and the bad news just seems to get worse each time. I don’t think I’m attracting it at all, but I feel I am being tested by the universe to see how strong I am and to potentially force me to see life in a different light.

Rather its potentially being exposed to COVID-19, dealing with the death of my 99 year old grandfather, fighting between family members that is just downright a slugfest, or news that my stepmom is battling breast cancer. I got even worst news this week learning that she has pancreatic cancer. I honestly don’t know if there is anything else I can take at this time because I am burnt with emotions right now.

I have not had time to grieve or process anything because every week another curve ball is being thrown at me and I’m doing my absolute best to function without being able to function. My grandfather’s death forced me to realize a few things: both of my parents have now lost both of their parents before the age of 60, death is inevitable and you have to appreciate the people in your life while you have them with you.

The realization has indeed dawned on me that I do work too much and I need to curb that back. There is more to life than work. Work is work, it’s always going to be there; I don’t however have to allow it to dictate my life America. You have to take time away from work to focus on you, spend time with family, reflect and do things that bring you joy to life. Yes, work can bring joy to life, but it is not the only thing to life.

This forced me to think about the last time I saw my grandfather, he was in town visiting at my uncle’s house and we had a brief conversation about his time fighting in World War II. It was a conversation that I had always been skeptical to have and I still did not fully have it. He never really discussed that with family, it was almost like a touchy topic. I did NOT want him to have to reflect on those horrors of war because I know for most veterans it is a terrifying experience.

He discussed things lightly, but I wish I would have pushed him more to have a grander scope of his experience, particularly him being pushed out of a plan and arriving on Normandy beach overseas and being barraged with gunfire. I always go back to the opening scene of the film “Saving Private Ryan” and it makes me think of what my grandfather endured. That is hard to watch because the violence is brutal in that movie and that’s a movie, imagine what it was like in real life for my grandfather? I can’t. I did hear him say that he prayed to God to protect him as he saw friends and soldiers literally blown to pieces as a result of gunfire and God did just that.

It hit me at that point, if my grandfather had NOT made it off that beach, I would NOT be here; he made the ultimate sacrifice to this country and for that I’m always going to be proud of him, but it just signified for me more now than ever, I’m going to tell his story and what he endured in the war in a screenplay that will be one of the best things I’ve ever written because its honest, raw and powerful. It is his story one that has never been told.

He was the glue that kept our family together and with him no longer with us, it makes me wonder what is going to happy with my family, we’re so spread out, and little issues here and there are causing issues that are preventing us from getting together and enjoying each other’s company people. As for my stepmom she is indeed in the battle for her life and I’ve dealt with cancer a lot in my family and some have survived while others have not. I don’t want to lose any more family members to cancer. I want to fight it with an iron fist and be that supportive ear and presence needed to push people when they are not at their best and need a push to get over that hump.

The chemo will take you out in ways you least imagine, the loss of hair and just hearing bad news each time you go to the doctor does not help the situation. I am going to focus on the positive and push to make things as easy as possible for my stepmom in her journey to successfully defeat this debilitating disease and to be a beacon of hope for those recently diagnosed or going thru the long battle of fighting cancer.

It does make me realize I have to take more steps to ensure my health is in tip top shape, but at the same time realize, sometimes things happen for a reason even if you do not know. I feel like I’m on a journey now, it’s a scary one and I don’t know where it’s going to lead me, but I’m learning things about my willpower and fight to overcome even when it seems at times its impossible.