Care giving comes in many shapes and sizes. Because I write from personal experience, usually I imagine I am speaking to the adult child of an elderly parent or the spouse of someone suffering with illness or dementia. But, this blog attracts all kinds of caregivers and loved ones.
The people who have written that most surprised me are those of you caring for a loved one with cancer or other life threatening illness – struggling with the roller coaster ride of hoping for a miracle and dealing with daily losses. So different, yet so similar.
That is why I decided to share this letter from my friend Brenda. Being my best childhood friend, I half lived at their house growing up. Brenda and her younger brother spent many hours in my back yard climbing our tree. While people grow up and move away, we have kept in touch. Over the past eleven years I have watched from the sidelines as Brenda’s heart ached for her brother and his wife who was battling cancer. Last week, she lost her fight. She was only 39 years old and leaves behind an adoring husband and three boys. Below is a letter Brenda gave me permission to share. This blog has always been about honest sharing of love, hopes and hurts, so I appreciate Brenda’s willingness to share in such a vulnerable manner. Whatever your story, I believe her words will challenge and encourage you to be honest, to embrace faith, hope and love and to cherish every moment. Be blessed. ~Sharon
“I have not kept many informed because we all believed that she would get her miracle and find a way to beat it.
For me she was the miracle.
To be strong enough to face everything with a smile and believe to the last moment that her time with Steve and their boys was worth every moment.I have never met a stronger person “wrapped up” in so much kindness. It sucks that cancer had to interfere.
Even though Jeanette has battled cancer for 11 yrs she “managed” very well up until Sat Apr 6. She was moved into hospice care and passed away Apr 10. The hospice facility was amazing – everyone was so kind and helpful. No “hospital smell or announcements”; it was as comfortable for everyone (as it could be under the circumstances). Each day following Apr 6 was a dramatic difference and part of me is glad that her “true decline” happened very fast.
She beat every set of odds for 11 yrs and besides the cancer treatments she “seemed healthy” and could be active in raising her family (they have 3 boys). She was so very strong and honest that they did not hide anything from the boys. No question was left unanswered.
The world would be a better place if more people could learn to be so honest with each other and to themselves.
Right now it just does not make sense. It feels wrong that someone so young and with so much more to do and offer this world could be gone.
But the message Jeanette left was that she never questions the gifts she received in life; that of her boys, a loving husband, supportive family and to be surrounded by a loving community. So why would she question the challenges God gave her to face.
We cannot know what is in store, but can believe that Jeanette is in a better place and she will be with you ever day.
I am not ready to accept this today, but maybe one day I will learn.