Have a Good Day




Have a Good Day. Is that a phrase you use during the day when you wish to leave someone in better spirits than when you met them? There should be sincerity when you say it. I’ll tell you the lesson I learned about that later.

Good is a versatile word. In 2003,  I wrote a novel titled “One More Good Day”. It was about a lady, mid-life, who had terminal cancer. Her husband remarked one day that he wished for another day. She said he should wish for one more good day. And he did. And they had a few. Not many, but a few.

I had my first cancer in 1997, and a different cancer in 2002. There might be people better qualified to write about someone having terminal cancer. Even though I had a “good” chance of surviving, I thought I might point out a few insights into the feelings I had when I didn’t know whether it was terminal. When you’re on a first name basis with the grim reaper, you get anxious, to say the least. Those magic words the doctors finally uttered, giving me a reprieve, were welcomed, but I’m not so naïve as to think that’s the final word. I had seen many who were “cured” and died, and continue to this day to see the same.

I was watching a movie the other night in which one of the central characters, a lady, had cancer, and she and her husband or friend, I don’t remember which, and she agreed there should be a final good day.

In my novel my two main characters were willing to get up on any day, and accept whatever the day brought. If they were lucky, it was a good day in the sense that no cancer day is totally a good day, but in totality it can be.

In the movie of the other night, they could not be sure when the final good day was. Could it have been the one they just had, or was there another to come? I think a more realistic approach is to do as my characters did in the novel—seize the day.

Have a good day. What does that mean? Twenty-four hours where nothing goes wrong. Not hardly. I don’t think anyone has a clear twenty-four hours. Something wrong happens, maybe nothing major, but something that threatens to derail the choo-choo train of feeling “good”

You have to keep it in perspective. A good day is when most everything that happens to you is good. You shuffle over the few minor missteps that happen that day, and concentrate on the “good” things that are happening that day. If your mindset is not of that nature, you will never have a good day.

I told you in the beginning that when you say, “Have a good day”, you should always mean it, and say it in that tone of voice.

When I was taking chemo, there would normally be five or six people doing the same. What I ran into, were two situations where I couldn’t tell someone to have a good day.

First was in the oncologist treatment room. We all normally chatted about various life things, while the drip, as we called it, was going on. That was the IV slowly going into your body through a needle and a porta-cath. I don’t remember how long it took, probably at least an hour. We had plenty of time to talk. There were different start times, so some were leaving during my hour, and others were still there when I finished.

All except one person must have known they had a chance at survival. That lady knew, or certainly had a good idea her chances were slim to none.. She had lost her hair (which I didn’t). She didn’t linger on her situation, but here again, because I’ve interviewed so many people in my life, I keyed on the bits and pieces she threw out and knew. I don’t know whether the others in the room became aware of what she was indicating. If so, they never said anything.

As bad as that was, I was about to experience worse. I was in the outer room one day, awaiting my treatment. Normally there might be two or three others there. On this day there was only this one lady, in a wheelchair, very, very pale, sitting in total silence, staring down. I finally figured someone had brought her over from the hospital, which was attached to the building where we were, and left her for treatment. There was no immediate danger for her, because the receptionist had her in full view. We never spoke.

The lady was dying. She knew it. I knew it.

When they called me to come back for my treatment, I couldn’t tell her to have a good day. How could I? She probably had a month to live.

I’m not sure if I were before, but from that day forward, I vowed if I ever told anyone to have a good day, I would put as much feeling and emotion into it as I possibly could.

Have a good day.


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