I remember it as if it was yesterday. The doctor had told my Mom that she might have breast cancer. I wasn’t much more than eight years old and hardly understood what it meant. All I know is that it worried her and she was extremely sad. I was sitting on the bed next to her. She had been crying and I went in trying to console her and make her smile. I do remember that she did stop long enough to smile at me and tell me that she loved me.
That evening I peaked through the crack in the door as she told my father the news. They sat and looked around the living room not realizing I was there. I could see it in their eyes, although they put a brave face on in front of me later – Where do we go from here?
Back then it seemed there were not as many opportunities for survival, treatments and tests almost sounded like the dark ages. Of course, for a young boy fearing the loss of his mother, it all sounded scary – especially the parts I was not suppose to hear.
It seemed like forever until the doctors could take a biopsy and find out the results. After a couple
of days of nervousness, the real news was in… she didn’t have cancer.
The joy of the news simply permeated our home for weeks. It seemed that my mother and father had a new lease on life. It took the fear that life as we knew it might end, to rejuvenate their daily existence.
They laughed more, cared more, shared more and all because it all almost slipped through their fingers.
Coming from two strong mountain families, they were both taught that loss was a way of life and they should accept it, pick up and go on. I am glad they didn’t at that time have to endure the loss but instead received a lesson in living each day to the fullest.
I learned a lot watching them then, but even more as I watched them endure through other illnesses that were really life threatening and see them face each day with strength, dignity and an endurance that seemed to come straight from God.
I hope as rough patches come in my life, I can muster only a small bit of the courage they showed to me as I watched them both live life until God called them home.
I pray that your children and grandchildren are seeing in you a lesson of courage, hope, love and faith that prepares them for the days ahead of each of us.