Whatever you do, DON’T. GIVE. IN.

This editorial column written by Dusty Takle was previously published in a print edition of The GRIP.

For the past six months, I’ve watched a very close family friend navigate through his third bout with cancer….his second with bone cancer. For those of you who’ve experienced or watched someone go through this kind of pain, you know it’s intensity.

You know how relentless it is in immobilizing your body, because the pain is so severe.
I watched Mike Thompson’s journey. I went on this journey with him. My parents went on this journey as his caretakers. His two grown children, having already lost their mother, endured their dad’s journey of cancer. His countless friends and family members embarked on this journey.

His great love for people made everyone want to love him right back and be there every step of the way. And the true gift in being there for Mike was the gift that he gave us in the process – his presence.

No matter what his pain level was in the time you were with him, he purposed to be in the moment with you. Present with you. Fully engaged, not missing a beat of who you were, what you were giving and where you were going.

He was intentional to not allow his pain to hinder his presence. He was a champion at fixing his thoughts on the goodness in front of him. As relentless as the cancer was, his presence was greater. Stronger. Winning out every single time.

Three days before he transitioned to his heavenly body, he told me, “You just don’t give in to the pain.”

You just don’t give in to the pain. You’re going to feel it. You’re going to wish it wasn’t there. You’re going to look for every possible way to eliminate it, but you don’t have to give in to it. You don’t have to allow it to rob you of the good in front of you. You don’t have to miss the beautiful stories people want to share with you. You don’t have sit the dance out, because your legs don’t move like they used to. You don’t have to refuse the laughter and the joy around you, because you can’t stop the pain.

You may not be able to stop the breaking of the heart. You may not be able to not feel the hurt, the heartache, the pain. That is the is-ness of life. It’s going to be there. My friend felt it. He felt it as he cared for his ailing wife, yet he never let it rob him of enjoying every minute with her.

He felt it as he came to the end of his journey here, but he never let it rob him of missing out on you, and he never let it rob you of missing out on him. He kept listening. He kept smiling. He kept laughing. He kept dancing.

He knew he was going to feel the pain. He owned it, but it never owned him because he never gave in to it. His presence was always greater than his pain.

Don’t get out of the game because life has thrown you a curveball.

Don’t stop loving because you’re heart has been broken.

Don’t stop being present because you’re hurt.

I would say that there will never be another soul like Mike Thompson, but I would be wrong because there are so many hearts he touched and lives he inspired that will take his zest for life and love for people and allow their presence to always be greater than their pain.

Of all the lessons he taught me in life, one is by far the greatest.

Don’t. Give. In.


  1. Isaac Melton says:

    Beautifully written.

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