don kerr

5 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Does time diminish memory?

Today I publicized the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to support the publication of my book, Riding Shotgun. My friend Randy Kehoe suggested it would be a good idea to share an excerpt from the book. He's a pretty bright guy so I'm gonna do it. In fact here are two.

Does time diminish memory?

The first is the outside back cover. It provides a very brief summary of what the book is about.

Riding Shotgun: Finding beauty in the wreckage

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” 

On November 3, 2011, I received a phone call advising that my wife had breast cancer. The ensuing months brought bewilderment, fear, and anger. I immediately struggled to find a way to express what was happening to our family and to provide care.

Caregivers have a tough row to hoe. Riding shotgun on the cancer coach, while preferable to sitting in the driver's seat, is no easy feat. Perhaps sharing my experiences will help someone else.

This book will help men find their way through the bewildering world of breast cancer and its dramatic impact on their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, cousins, aunts, or anyone for whom they care and how they can come out the other side to find beauty in the wreckage.

The following entry to Chapter One - Facing Adversity - was written earlier this year. In fact, 130,032,000 seconds after Kate was diagnosed.

Does time diminish memory?

Does time diminish memory?
“Four years, one month and 13 days.
215 weeks.
1,505 days.
36,120 hours.
2,167,200 minutes.
130,032,000 seconds.
No matter how you count, it is at once immediate and distant.”

I began writing this piece on the four-year anniversary of Katie’s diagnosis. I am delighted to report that it is now 14,400 minutes into her cancer-free status. Much water has rushed over the dam since we started attempting to navigate the rapids of cancer. There has been anger of the most powerful dimension. There has been unbridled joy and brilliant sparkling hope. There has been pain coupled with fear. There has been jaw-dropping kindness.

If you were to run the gamut of human emotion, paddling down the cancer river would discover it for you. I don’t recommend it, but there is much learning to be gained when one has tremendous adversity enter one’s life. Even more learning occurs when you embrace the adversity as though it were a friend.

Yes, that sounds purely nuts.

Yet, as Katie pursued her life reinvention, she came upon brilliant and challenging opportunities to completely recalibrate how she attacked life. I use ‘attack’ with purpose as that is how she entered into the day-to-day fray.

Here’s Kate in her own words:

“For a good portion of my career I allowed stress to dictate my actions. I experienced burnout at least three times. Most of the time I either wasn’t aware of how stress was impacting me or I chose to ignore it because I was ‘too busy’ to pay attention. When work or life was overwhelming, I’d make external changes in an attempt to find balance such as taking sabbaticals and even moving to a new country. Eventually, I defaulted to old behaviours and continued to allow stress to dictate. I couldn’t bounce back because my mental resiliency was totally depleted.
“It was a third wakeup call that got my attention. I was diagnosed with cancer. This set me on a path to empower myself and others with tools to reframe stress. In the process I made some interesting discoveries. Firstly, how much of the time I would race through my day and lose myself in autopilot mode (research shows that the average person is in autopilot 47% of the time). Autopilot mode is similar to driving your car, arriving at your destination then discovering you don’t remember a thing about the journey. Or opening a bag of nuts, suddenly noticing the packet is empty and observing you’ve eaten a whole bag without even realizing. I became aware of how much of the time my mind was ‘wandering’ and how frequently I was getting lost in ‘doing’ and ‘striving’ to get more stuff done instead of living fully.”

Back to the present moment then and back to the question - does time diminish memory?

In some respects - yes. In others - absolutely not. In most - only if you allow it to.

Here lies the rub.

Some of us feel, that to move forward, it is necessary to block out the adversity faced while we’re paddling upstream. We believe that filling up the shelves of our mental pantry and sealing the memories in air-tight packets is the way to live.

Quite simply this does not work.

It is a recipe for failure and a path to a life filled with absence. The absence of genuine feeling, of complete memory, of coping skills, and absence of presence.

Do not let time diminish memory. It is within your control. When you recall the depths of despair, you are more readily able to experience the relief of living. When you recall loneliness and isolation, you are more able to retrieve thoughts of those who surrounded you with love and support.

This suggests that you find a way to forgive yourself for “failing to fight the good fight.” Frankly, I dislike the notion of engaging in a brave battle with cancer. We live with it - while it lives within us and while it is apparently absent from our being. Children have the greatest resiliency of all. We would do well to recapture this childlike ability, being curious about it, being open to it and accepting how we manage its presence.

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
Lewis B. Smedes

©2016 Don Kerr. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Once again, the link to my Kickstarter campaign is: projects/ridingshotgun/don- kerrs-book-about-cancer- family-and-support

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don kerr

5 years ago #27

didn't know you had but regardless don't worry about whatever it was. It's a tough row to hoe and we seldom come out in the new normal unscathed. I am sorry for your loss. Peace

don kerr

5 years ago #26

thank you.

don kerr

5 years ago #25

very many thanks.

mohammed khalaf

5 years ago #24

You are so entirely gracious, Don Kerr , ((thank you)). I thought of you and your family .

don kerr

5 years ago #23

Thanks Gert Scholtz Always great to hear from you and I appreciate your support.

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #22

Don Kerr Wonderfully written. Lots to think about and take from but this I find especially relevant: "Do not let time diminish memory. It is within your control. When you recall the depths of despair, you are more readily able to experience the relief of living. When you recall loneliness and isolation, you are more able to retrieve thoughts of those who surrounded you with love and support." Thank you Don.

don kerr

5 years ago #21

Thanks so much Joel Anderson Appreciate you making the time to read and comment.

Joel Anderson

5 years ago #20

Nicely done.

don kerr

5 years ago #19

many thanks

don kerr

5 years ago #18

great. You rock Jim Murray

don kerr

5 years ago #17

I really appreciate your support

don kerr

5 years ago #16

thank you so very much.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #15

I've just supported Don's project on Kickstarter, not just because he's a Beezer, but he's a gifted writer and the message in this book is so worth telling.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #14

Shared on LinkedIn, as well:

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #13

@Don Kerr - Looked at the Kickstarter info, signed up to support the project. And am sharing this post. I notice that project supporters do receive one or more copies of the book, so perhaps my prior remark was not relevant -- although you were too polite to say so. Cheers!

Jim Murray

5 years ago #12

Good luck, Don Don Kerr. I have shared this everywhere.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #11

Congratulations on launch of the Kickstarter campaign. I enjoyed Chapter One. Not only, but your wife Kate is also an extremely gifted writer!

Randy Keho

5 years ago #10

Shared across the spectrum. Good luck, Don Kerr

don kerr

5 years ago #9

You are more than kind Donna-Luisa Eversley

don kerr

5 years ago #8

Many thanks.

don kerr

5 years ago #7

I will make sure you get one Pascal. That way at least two will be in the market as I am pretty sure my sister will buy one too!

don kerr

5 years ago #6

That's very kind of you Irene Hackett

don kerr

5 years ago #5

Really appreciate it Phil Friedman and that's a good idea. Appreciate your thoughtful advice and support.

don kerr

5 years ago #4

Thanks so much Randy Keho

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #3

Don Kerr, I wish you had tagged me on this, for I am just seeing it. Anyway, it sounds like a great book that will be if great value and halo to many. I will visit the Kickstart page today and will place my contribution to supporting the publishing of your book. Have you considered support in the form of pre-publication orders and payment for copies of the book? For example, I could see myself buying a half dozen copies, one to keep and five to give to people I know.

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #2

Looking forward to getting your book Don Kerr

Randy Keho

5 years ago #1

Every woman knows that a man won't ask for directions, but he'll read a map. This is a map. A travelogue, if you will, noting every bump in the road on the way to their destination. It will be an indispensable guide, greatly reducing the anxiety associated with such a trip. You are doing mankind a tremendous service Don Kerr

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