Cancer took away from me someone I loved dearly. Someone I looked up to. Someone that taught me the ways of the world, gave me such fierce appreciation for music and old movies. Someone who reminded me that The Bible is an interesting book, but allowed me to still believe what I wish. Someone who called me weekly, ended every call with the words ‘I love you,’ and always made me feel important.
Two years ago this month.
This morning, I cried in the check-out line while holding Lilies and a card for one of my neighbors. The cashier told me how pretty the arrangement was and a tear fell from my eye. I couldn’t even say, ‘I know. I hope they bring cheer to the home where they will live on beyond…well, enough said’ I couldn’t even say Thank you to her as she handed me my receipt.
Driving past their house, I felt the same dread I’d been feeling for weeks, wondering what it’s like inside. Knowing what it’s like inside. I decided to continue on to my house and then walk the flowers down to my neighbor, giving my eyes some time to dry and clear.
A young woman opened the door. She wasn’t one of the family members I’d met yet. She was amazing. She, a long-time family friend, proceeded to tell me of all the people she’s lost to cancer as well. She hugged me three times as we talked about my own loss.
I went to offer help to someone with cancer.
In turn, I received a friend. A hug. An ear. A reminder that there are still amazing people that care in the world. This woman left her job, her family and her friends in another state to be with this family while they fight this short battle and take this road too often traveled. She will have to leave soon and expressed that I had shown up at the right time, as the family may need someone else that has taken that same journey.
Someone near you is fighting some kind of battle. Trying to hold it together. Trying to hold it in. I challenge you to reach out. Give away a piece of yourself and watch what you get in return. I went to offer condolences, help, food, someone to clean house, someone to sit and read out loud, whatever they might need. And in turn I received love.