BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Joining Forces – Women Veterans Speak Out: Love Is The Most Important Thing

Posted by YWM on January 16, 2012

Returning guest blogger, Liz Mclean, an Air Force Academy graduate who has transitioned into the civilian world in search of fulfillment after serving on active duty for four and a half years tells a very personal story today.

In my past articles, I have talked about my drive towards the ambiguous definition of “success” …the constant quest for new motivation. While I have always been someone who recognized the efforts others, it wasn’t until recently that I realized how the unwavering support of one particular person is truly what carried me for the past 27 years. Without him…”success” would have had a much smaller meaning.

Not but a few weeks ago, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. I have had horrendous experiences in life, but finding this news was by far the most gut wrenching.  Much like the opening stanza to Emerson’s Concord Hymn, it was a devastating shotgun diagnosis heard around the world.  Flying out to CA to sit in the Oncologists office as “Jingle Bells” played in the background was surreal, but it was my father’s positive mind-set that still made it seem like Christmas after all.

Liz and her dad Bud

As he goes from doctor to doctor hearing the trials and tribulations of what he must endure ….one thing never vacillates: his positive attitude and his mantra to fight with all his heart. When I say to him “dad, you are an inspiration to start appreciating what is important in life” his response is “I’ve always said love is the most important thing in the world. Some people thought I was crazy. But I have known it is supporting family, friends and having a positive attitude that matters.”

As I began to reflect on life, I started realizing what it was that got me to this point of “success.” There is no doubt I have worked hard on my own, but without my dad’s love and support growing up…I would not be anywhere. Starting to compete in running events in Kindergarten; my dad was there as a cheering squad for every road, cross-country or track event. I can still hear him in the background chanting “Go Liz Go!” as I came around the bend. He was there for every drama performance, every monologue, for my Miss Junior America competitions, my biggest fan for every newspaper article I drafted, my sailing teacher, my horse show applauder, my driving teacher, my example of work ethic and the one person who constantly told me he thought I was beautiful.

When I think back to momentous occasions such as when my USAFA acceptance envelope came in the mail, parents’ weekends, graduation, my wedding, nearly every Thanksgiving no matter where I was in the world…..he has been there. My number one fan.

The point being that sometimes when you think you have accomplished success on your own, you fail to look behind the scenes to who may have been the catalyst. My father has given me faith to prevail …and now it is my turn to stand behind him to help him make this fight.  Cheers to you Dad….you were right….love is the most important thing in the world. Keep calm and carry on.


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