Saturday, June 19, 2010

Strong

I'm not here right now. At least I am not supposed to be. Assuming everyone cooperates, I won't be home tonight. If all goes as planned, I will be out at the Relay for Life with my husband and my children and my friends. Walking.

I am walking to remember the fight my husband fought all those years ago. Ten years he's out now. Healthy and strong. The father of four children he was never supposed to have. He will be out there walking all night too, holding the hands of those four kids with me.

I am walking to remember the man that suffered from the same disease Tom did, that friend of the family who lost his battle with cancer and succumbed at far too early of an age. He is now and will forever be an angel to our family. Though he is gone, his illness did one thing that I will always be grateful for. It made Tom check. It made him call the doctor right away when he felt the lump. It made him realize that being young doesn't mean you are invincible. We miss you Jeff. And we will always, always thank you for the gift you left behind. Knowledge.

I am walking to support my friend, Kerry, who is in a very similar place in her world to me these days. Her experiences so often mirror mine anymore. I think that maybe we found each other a few years ago because we'd need each other now. I hope she can make it out tonight. As with everything it seems though, she might have somewhere she needs to be more right now. And no one could possibly understand that more than I can. She is so strong. Stronger than she thinks she is. Stronger than she sometimes wants to be. I walk for her too.

I am walking for the friends and family who have lost their fight. Not just my family and friends, but all the lives it has touched, whether I've ever known them or not. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care how much money you make, what color your skin is. It doesn't care how old you are, how much life you have ahead of you. It doesn't care who needs you. Through my experiences, I have learned so much from others who have been down this road before. I am grateful for their knowledge. For their understanding. For their shoulders to cry on.

Mostly though, I am walking for the strongest man I know. For the man who refuses to give up. Who wants to keep fighting. Who isn't going to let this disease define who he is. Who inspired the name of our team. Who really is the Tooth Fairy. The man who held me in his arms as a baby. Who used to let me dance with my feet on his. Who spent endless hours playing catch with me in the backyard. Who taught me how to ride a bike and taught me how to drive. Who walked me down the aisle. The man who I think about only a million times a day.

Dad, I'm about to spend hours doing something you love the very most in this world. Making a left turn. (A little NASCAR humor thrown in there to make my Daddy smile.)

Fight the good fight, Daddy. I love you.

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