Back a couple of years ago I received a call about my sister, Betty. She had been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, which is very similar to Alzheimer's. At first, the individual is aware that “something is wrong” but cannot control the downhill spiral. In fact, one summer when she and her husband came out to visit, twice at different times, Betty said that she felt like she was losing her mind. Not having seen her in a while, neither Kim nor I saw anything different. Betty seemed like Betty.
This diagnosis hit me hard. Coming from a big family, the older ones took care of the younger ones, and I was Betty’s “charge.” She and I grew close, very close, and I can remember so many Christmas’ and Thanksgivings and camping trips. I have nothing but very fond memories and that is how I will choose to picture and remember her – always! Not in her present state.
I’m betting that there are many of us, perhaps all of us, who have received such phone calls. Calls in the early morning. Calls in the dead of night. Calls in the middle of a laugh or a good story or a wonderful meal.
The Call is an unwelcome intrusion. It is seldom a call with good news, though we do receive some of those. Hopefully, we receive more of those than the other, not so good or welcome kinds of calls.
October is Cancer Awareness Month. All types, I think, because one is no better or no worse than the other. Cancer is cancer. It is scary and worrisome, not only for the recipient of The Call, but for those of us who live with those, who love those, who receive The Call.
As I said, The Call is unwelcome.
As I write this, I think of Tom, one of Kim’s and my best friends. I think of his wife, Carol, his son, Jarrett. I think of my niece. Two of my brothers. Other family members, both immediate and extended. Co-workers and colleagues. Friends I know well, others more of an acquaintance. Some battling courageously. Some who have, unfortunately and sadly, been defeated. Never without a fight, though. Never without a fight.
In fact as I write this, I am aware of folks I rub elbows with each day, many times a day, who are silently and courageously fighting this battle. Either they or their loved ones. Some folks we know about, while others choose to keep it quiet and only for family and a few close friends who know. Some of these folks we never know about, but we do know they are out there among us. Perhaps scared. Perhaps frightened. Perhaps feeling very much alone. But with an undying hope and a deeply held faith.
So today, this post is for you. Each of you. To those who have suffered. To those who have received The Call. To those who are still battling.
I have embedded a link to a song sung by a little girl to her mother. Her mother is battling bravely. Her daughter wanted her mom to know that she wasn’t alone. Her daughter wanted her mom to know that she wanted to help her. To stand beside her. To know that she deeply loves her.
Please take three or four minutes to watch and to listen. Hold those close to you tightly to your heart. Keep their valiant struggle in your mind, in your thoughts, and in your prayers. They deserve it. We deserve it.