Last month, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and my life perspective hasn't been the same since. He's very young, and the thought of him having to fight such a challenging battle, let alone — God forbid — possibly losing this battle, reinforces the idea that life isn't fair, and often doesn’t make sense. It’s a reminder that life is not to be taken for granted, and an acknowledgement of my very potent fear of losing people I love. This new fear seems to have become a part of me, lingering and leaving me wondering if I'll ever shake this charged cloud hovering above me, and be the person I was before Bobby's diagnosis.
The more I look for light at the end of the tunnel, the more I know deep down that I'll never be the same. I've accepted this.
My perspective has been affected in another way too — my ability to imagine ways to respond and help has expanded. It's one thing to know that little things matter, but it's another to actually experience little things mattering, like an occasional text message, or a get-well card from my 5-year old son, or watching a Knicks game in silence together. Bobby has a lot of friends who deeply care about him, and I believe that our gestures, small and large, are significant to his fight.
Lately I've been wondering how I, as an artist, can aid in Bobby’s fight. Bobby himself is an artist, a very talented writer and filmmaker. I've seen some of his work, and we both know that he has a lot more to offer this world. And while there are many possible answers to the question, What can I do?, one simple answer is to just continue making art, in spite of any obstacle, while I can, remembering that the ability to create is a blessing. I'm following Bobby's lead in this regard.
I can also channel this cloud of fear — as well as all of the other emotions that I am processing — by connecting it to the stories I tell. This new perspective will exist in characters that I write and create as part of my never-ending pursuit to create authentic people. Another, most practical, way to help is to use my artistic abilities to raise funds for Bobby, to advocate for cancer research, and to move people who deal with cancer. I want to do it all and more, and while lots of things still don't make sense, I do at least have a new clarity about what's most important in life.
Bobby is an artist fighting cancer. I'm calling out to my fellow artists to fight it with him. I'm calling out to all who hear this message, artist or not, to join him and the many others who are fighting this disease. Fight it in your own way, as I can't think of anyone who hasn't been at least indirectly affected by cancer. It's a scary experience, but we are a strong people, especially when we embrace challenges, when we are compassionate, and when we act, as taking action may very well be the best antidote to life's unfair nature.
To learn more about Bobby and support him in his fight, please visit www.youcaring.com/kashif-bobby-cox-517019#.Vrp5LIi3_WQ.Facebook