One year ago, my cousin, Stephanie, died of breast cancer. We had no idea that she had it, no idea that she was ill. It spread from her breast to her liver and there were so many complications so quickly that she got worse and ended up in a medically-induced coma. I remember holding her hand and talking to her like she could hear everything that I said but I don’t know if she could, really. I’m assuming that she heard me when I told her, comically, that it was the first time that I could talk without her interrupting me and that, if she could, I wouldn’t be able to finish a sentence without her laughing with that contagious laugh of hers or her interrupting me before I finished the story.
I remember a lot from those hours in the hospital. It was very difficult for me and I won’t go into much about that part of it because this is for Steph. I’m remembering her. When I was about 2-years-old, my older sister got really ill at 4-years-old. For the next six years, she spent quite a lot of time (with my mother by her side) in hospitals, medical centers, and the like. She passed away at the age of 10 and there is quite a lot to be said about that; however, seeing my little cousin (about 42-years-old?) in a hospital bed in a coma with numerous I.V’s and tubes and bruises and all, well, it brought back a lot of memories and it made me feel like vomiting even though I pushed on and tried to be strong.
My parents and I went to visit her. My cousin, (her sister), had called and told me that if we wanted to see her, we’d better make the trip and come. I could tell in her voice that she meant, “Come now”. So, we did. It was really hard to be an adult even though I’m nearly fifty now. I guess that whenever we are with our parents and older relatives, we tend to fall back into our role and I felt like a little kid going into the hospital. But, I tried to be cool and quiet for everyone else.
I couldn’t believe when someone told me the other day that it had been a whole year since Steph died. This year went very, very quickly. The week after Steph passed away, my neighbor (who I considered a friend), passed away from breast cancer, too. So, it was kind of a double-whammy for me. Both gone for almost a year now.
Life goes so quickly. Don’t take any moment for granted. Experience things you never thought you would. Try new things that you were always afraid of because you never know until you try. I’m going to try three new things and write about them here. Why don’t you do the same. Think of things that you always wanted to do but never took the time…imagine getting over a silly fear by doing something that you never have…Allow yourself some freedom and some joy and try something that you remember as being a joyful experience when you were young and then do it again.
Let me know if you do these things. I will get back to you all in three later posts. Always wanted to do, overcoming a silly fear and doing it, and allowing myself to experience true joy again… What a thought.
Can you do these three things? Will you post back to me afterward? Time is passing… Will you try?
“Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth.”
― Criss Jami
This quote grabbed me. I guess it made me think. For people who actually know me, one of my favorite (FAVORITE!) quotes of all time is this: “It takes all kinds to make a world”. It means just about the same thing.
And, I mean it several ways: it takes all kinds of people, it takes all kinds of things, all kinds of animals, all kinds of jobs, all kinds of personalities, all kinds of…everything.
When people start to whine, bicker, or complain (myself included from time-to-time), I repeat this quote.
My 17-year-old will be graduating from high school in about two weeks. There is a lot going on in our lives: writing up scholarships and filling out the forms (I’m helping out with that one), ironing graduation gowns without a wrinkle (grandma is helping with that task!), mowing the lawn, blowing the circle drive, and weed-eating the bank for our guests (my wonderful hubby), and working on the inside of the house and organizing kids’ games, toys, Pet Shop Pals, and bins of Barbies from long ago (our youngest, 13-year-old, is an organizing genius)…
There is a lot going on and a lot of emotions, to say the least! This Summer will go quickly and our oldest will turn 18 and then, subsequently, move away from home for the first time in her life. I am happy for her; she will be going to one of the most amazing private, Catholic universities in the nation. I am happy for her, really I am… Don’t smirk.
I am also having a rough time of it but I will make it…I will survive and I will smile through tears – for her. I love her so much, so I will be strong – for her. And, when she is on her merry way, and when we drive away from the school, I will hold my head up and try to keep it together — for our youngest, her best friend, her confidant, her other half.
I don’t really regret a moment of the past 17-and-a-half years because we are a close-knit family and we have spent those years close together. I just need to take a deep breath and remember that this is her time, her life, her shot at living and having a little fun – and freedom – for awhile. And, if it doesn’t feel right, she knows that we will be here with open arms should she decide to make a different decison.
Enough rambling on that note… Back to the quote. We have had numerous philosophical discussions recently (she and I) about life, love, religion, faith and purpose. She is different from most of her friends. We live in a small town where most of her graduating class of 120-some students will either be working at Burger King come Fall, be entering Basic Training at some army base, or will become preggers and become a welfare statistic living on their own to prove something to their mom and dad by being “independent” from their family. None of these choices is good; none of these choices do I wish on any of her friends.
But, again, it takes all kinds to make a world. It does take the woman working behind the counter at Wendy’s to give you your meal at lunchtime, it does take the guy digging in the ditch to lay the line for your cable, it does take the student at the cash register after you’ve finished making your frozen yogurt to pay, it does take the teller at the bank to fire off the cylinder back to you with your weekend cash in it and it does take YOU…to do whatever it is that you do to help make this world.
What is it that you will do, what is it that you can offer, what is it that you will contribute to make this world better, stronger, more amazing? Think about it. What will you do?
In the meantime, God Bless.