I often say the phrase “Life is good”. I say it to my monkeys, I say it to strangers, and I constantly say it to myself. I use it as a hashtag on Instagram posts and smile every time I see it printed on a spare tire cover on the back of a Jeep. “Life is good”. I am so blessed and grateful for all that I have, but more importantly, all of those who are in my life. They are three simple words that are such a reminder to me, that when things are tough, “Life is good.” Because it is.
I grew up hearing the phrase, “Life is good”. My dad often said the words just to keep things in context that we are all lucky in life. Even in the most troubling of circumstances he would say the words, “Life is good”. He said the phrase when I didn’t make the basketball team in sixth grade, when I won an art contest in high school, and just moments after delivering my first baby boy. “Life is good.” They were words that I heard him say but they did not necessarily register until December 10th, 2003.
Three weeks after our first son was born, I was sitting on the couch comfortably holding my new little bundle of baby joy. I received a phone call that afternoon that changed my life forever.
I knew my dad was having an endoscopy and shortly afterwards he called. His exact words were, “I have a picture of something they found and I’m bringing it over. OK?” An hour later, he arrived. In a calm voice he said to me, “They found a tumor. How do we fix it?” I knew he was scared and so was I, but I also knew how he had raised me. Our job was to work together a find a solution. So I did my best to help him.
I reached out to some friends and colleagues in the oncology field and within twenty-four hours we were sitting across from one of the best oncologists in the area.
My dad was nervous, but he kept a composure through his visit that was impressive. My dad was a Marine and perhaps that’s where he refined his ability to stay calm in challenging circumstances. My father chimed in after introductions with the physician and confidently said, “Life is good, doc. I have a new grandson and I want to see him grow up. Life is good. I’m ready to fight this.”
He did fight it — like a Marine. Countless chemo and radiation treatments led him to remission by summertime. Throughout the many trips back and forth to the ER, the side effects of chemo and radiation, and the CT scans to confirm stabilization of growth of tumors, he kept saying, “Life is good.” And when he was too sick to say the words, we did for him.
That summer we played golf together every chance we could get. We had a high school graduation party for him because he entered the military draft and never formally graduated. He inspired me to follow my passion and start my interior decorating business. He and my mom graciously offered to help watch my son when I needed to paint a mural in someone’s room. Life was good.
I knew remission was just that, remission. I knew his stage 4 cancer would rear its ugly face again, but for the summer of 2004, we lived by the words, “Life is good“. I found an embroidered sign that read the sweet phrase and I hung it above the back door that led to the garage. I never wanted to forget that “Life is good” and I never wanted him to forget either.
My dad continued his fight until the Lord decided he would be a perfect person to have in heaven. It was summer of 2005 when he was escorted by angels to inspire others and let them know that “Life is good.” Eleven years later, myself, Andy, and my mom, still say the words, “Life is good.” My dad had no idea he would forever inspire us to continue to share his passion for life.
Although he has been gone eleven years, he never stops fueling us with drive and positive inspiration. My dad was an entrepreneur and he had successes and failures. As Andy and I continue down our path there are moments that are challenging. We channel my father’s “Life is good” attitude and persevere, because the Marine would have. He may be gone on earth, but he lives within us everyday in all that we do.
Life IS good. Life IS REALLY good. I say the words often and remember my dad each time they roll off my lips. I try to live by the words. It isn’t always easy as we get busy with things, but I try. I want my monkeys to know, “Life is good“, because it is. For each of you, I hope your Life is good. I pray that you enjoy the little things amongst all the other things. I got to play Rock’Em Sock’Em and build a robotic arm with my boys the other night — Life is good.
Make it a Great Day.