F is for: Fast Forward into the Future

the future

Looking into the future is extremely difficult for me—almost impossible, in fact. How do I do that when my husband has a terminal illness? Do I imagine a life without him and plan accordingly? Do I dream the dreams we’ve had for our lives, the ones that cancer threatens to steal? Although they are unlikely, they are preferable.

It might seem obvious that someone whose spouse has cancer, would have trouble looking into the future. But it can be hard to imagine for people who haven’t experienced it firsthand.

To have and to hold…

Our lives are so intricately connected. They have been since the day we said, “I do.” There is a sting in the tail, though. The vows we exchanged included the words, “for as long as we both shall live.” We thought that would be for decades. But it won’t be. What then?

12 Months into the Future

I can imagine Dan being here this time next year. Though I don’t know what our future holds. Things change so quickly with cancer. Only a couple of months ago he was in bed all but a couple of hours each day. He was unable to even read, because of how sick he felt. Today he actually went for a walk in our local mall. What big a difference in such a short time! How do you plan around that?

I recently got an email from a lovely lady who recently lost her sister. She was shocked at how quickly her sister died. That’s pretty common. I’ve talked to so many people who have had this experience that I can’t ignore the reality that it could happen to us in the future, as well.

5 Years into the Future

I’m going to be very frank. While my only wish is for my husband to be with me in 5 years, it isn’t statistically likely. The fact that he is still alive today is a true miracle. Doctors diagnosed Dan in 2012, and gave him a 4% chance of surviving 5 years. Each year, he struggles more than the last, due to the effects of living as long as he has with both cancer and its treatment.

Our kids will be out of the house by then, so my house will be clean. That’s a good thing. Hopefully, I’ll get a lot of writing done because, for the first time in a quarter of a century, I will only have to take care of myself. I plan to take better care of my health. Time in the woods is good for my mental well-being, so I will spend a lot of time foraging for mushrooms.


I have no idea what success will look like in the future. Sometimes I think that just being able to move forward, one step at a time, is a success. I know that this isn’t really what this prompt was intended to encourage, but right now, it’s the best I can do.

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

A t Z Blogging ChallengeI’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ideas for “Thinking Creatively.” I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will focus on “Avoiding Burnout.” I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is f is for Fast Forward into the Future.

The great artist, Leonardo da Vinci, was renowned for his ability to imagine the future.  He conceptualized designs for the parachute and helicopter centuries before they were even invented. So think about an idea you want to implement.

  • Fast forward 12 months
  • Fast forward 5 years from now
  • What could be possible?
  • What does success look like?

Have you ever experienced an inability to envision the future?

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! By commenting, you agree to the terms of my privacy policy.

19 comments on “F is for: Fast Forward into the Future

At one time, I attempted to plan the future but some changes occur with no input from us. Becoming flexible has been my greatest success. I have a friend whose husband has cancer as was supposed to died years ago. They write novels (with her now doing much of the work) but they take each day as it comes. Faith and prayers take care of the future.

Hi Gail, Often the only thing we can do is face the day we are living. Thank you for your prayers.

You are doing the best you can. That is enough. You are also doing a wonderful work with this challenge so far, and I admire your posts!

The Multicolored Diary

Thank you, Tarkabarka. As always, your blog is fantastic. I love learning about folk tales of all sorts, but I never imagined that there were so many about fruit.

Big hugs to you. It’s not an easy thing to think about, but you have to do it because you have to have the bare bones of a plan at least.

Thank you, Patricia. I’ve lived for so long with a shaky timeline for our future. As we move closer to my husband’s death, I am realizing I’m afraid to face the future without him.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a piece by anyone whose partner is suffering with cancer which has been so wonderfully untainted by any feeling of feelings of sorrow for themselves. I’m sending you hugs and strength to get through the next years, and hope for strength and lack of suffering for your husband. Hope your writing takes off like a rocket!

Thank you, Liz. I’m grateful for your encouragement. This has really been a hard month. Also, I very much appreciate you linking to my blog. Have a great week!

PS, because I’m finding so many ’empty’ of A-Z blogs, I’m linking to one blog a day on both my websites, http://www.poetryroundabout.com and http://wwwlizbrownleepoet.com – you will be linked this week, thank you for visiting me!

Wow… sometimes you read something that you need to hear right at that very moment in your life. Thank you for this post. As upset I was at my husband for doing something stupid, this reminds me that life is to short for trivial things. Best wishes for you.

I’m so glad that this resonated with your heart and that it was helpful. I still squabble with my husband from time to time, but it doesn’t ever last very long, because as you say, life is too short for trivial things. Have a great week!

My husband isn’t terminally ill but has a lot of health problems stemming from a botched surgery in the Marines. And here we are 32 years later, but it’s still tougher each day. I think we just don’t focus on the negative as we rarely argue and we are such a closeknit family. Life is definitely too short. Our goal is leaving great examples for our daughters. After all children are our future.
Stephanie Finnell
@randallbychance from
Katy Trail Creations

Hi Stephanie. I am so sorry to hear about what your husband is going through due to the botched surgery. Chronic health conditions are so difficult to live with. You are so right about keeping conflicts in perspective! A couple of nights ago, my daughter gave a speech to my husband that she had written about him. It’s called, “The Little Things.” I think you will enjoy it. Turn the volume up, though. She was pretty emotional and as a result, didn’t project her voice.

It is hard to think of the future when things are so uncertain.

Hi Liz. It sure is…even for positive experiences. My parents recently invited my daughters and me on a 4-week vacation to see all of the western United States. Normally, This would be awesome, but my daughters and I have been questioning whether or not we will be ready. Or, will our emotions be so messy that we can’t handle it? It’s so hard to know.

Not easy to think about future, I would live one day after another I guess, too hard to think further…
You are very brave

Thank you, Fred. The truth is, I don’t feel brave. I feel scared out of my wits. But when faced with something like this, one doesn’t have much choice other than to take things as they come and hope for the best.

Sorry to reply so late, but now back from hols.

When my parents were ill, I got into the need to just think of today, the now, and what needed to be done. We got some great advice for coping through these stressful times – which carries on into bereavement – look after your physical health, your mental health, and the paperwork. Nothing else is important until you’re ready to step outside those key things.

So while envisaging the future may be encouraged by some, I don’t think it’s realistic. You’ll find time to plan later…

Thanks for visiting me, I hope the guinea pigs raised a smile 🙂

Thank you, Jemima. I completely failed at my first paperwork assignment. I sent the paperwork to the wrong place and ended up making a mistake that is affecting all of our health insurance. I’m sure it will get figured out, but it is stressful. Your advice is very good. My husband is now on hospice and nothing is quite like I envisioned. I loved the guinea pigs. I have gerbils, myself, but I love all little critters.

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