Walking the Cancer Path
William Ward has written a personal account of his life following a fateful diagnosis of a brain tumor: gliablastoma multiforme Phase IV cancer. With no trace of self-pity and rising above sentimentality, he describes the landscape of his outer path through hospitals, surgeons, pain, powerful drugs, and the support of family, friends, and community. At the same time, with fearless honesty he invites the reader to accompany him on the inner path of inevitable regrets, self-examination, fears, and hopes in the face of a potentially terminal illness.
Until it happens to us, we can never know for sure how we would respond as individuals to a catastrophic event in our lives, but by telling the most personal of all stories, William Ward shows us a way forward that goes well beyond our personal differences. With compassion and humor, Ward bears witness to the presence of living light in the darkest of human experiences, demonstrating how, if we face it, the Dark Night of the Soul necessarily leads to awaking in the light of a new dawn.
Fierce hope shines through the final words of Traveling Light:
As we part, here at the edge of Death Valley, I feel like an old prospector handing over a weather-stained chart. “You take this map, sonny. Where I’m goin’ I won’t be needin’ it no more. But while you’re here on the earthly plane, I want you to know there is water, the water of life, deep down, right here. Yonder, atop Solomon’s knob, is the Mother Lode—pay dirt, pure gold, the sun’s tears. The way up is steep. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Up on top you can see forever. Goodbye, God bless and good luck!
William Ward crossed the threshold of death on October 5, 2008 at the age of 61.