Cancer sucksYea I know that comment is nothing new but bear with me as I put a couple of thoughts out there. Cancer not only affects the patient but the WHOLE family and I wonder why at times that the family is forgotten. Sure the patient is the one going through HELL but as a family member or support person its hard for us also to know what to do, how to help. I understand this from BOTH sides, PLEASE bear with me as I go here and you will have a better view of where I am coming from.

We all know about cancer and the damage that it can do to the body. I had a fairly good understanding of what the disease can do UNTIL my oldest daughter at age 12 was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Yes, you are reading everything correctly, it not only affected her but her sister. A lot of the issues got dealt with at the time but I can remember my Mum getting angry with God, wondering WHY HER? I think that is a general question when anything like that happens, WHY them. I ask myself that when a close mate Gary got sick, WHY HIM! Married to a wonderful lady named Shelly, great kids, was a teacher, coach and principal. I got word today of a high school mate who was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Yup, your right it’s not fair BUT, the saying goes that God only gives you what you can handle but how to process it all is what I have the hardest time with.

With my girls I did what I had to but on top of it, my Mum was in the hospital and moving into a nursing home so I didn’t really have time to think. My relationship with my youngest girl suffered and that is something I wish I could change, but I can’t. WE have moved forward and things are great now. I keep asking myself if I had just did one thing different would things of changed? Lots of questions and answers I wont get and the best thing is to just leave it alone.

One of my high school mates posted on Facebook this morning that she had found a lump and it was the worse news…CANCER. She has no family history or anything of it. I feel so helpless in a lot of ways at the time of writing this. I want to help, to be supportive but how. What is the best thing I can do to help her? Another friend posted about a young woman who had lost her fight with breast cancer, how sad it was at such a young age to lose another.

I keep thinking about Gary and what he taught me 1/2 a world apart. He fought hard but he also took care of those around him, Shelly and the kids, his brother Dan, even me. For some reason he answered my notes in the course of the short time we shared together. It was Shelly who one day said we needed to take our lead from him in all of this, so that’s what I tried to do. He wrote to me one day about looking at a sunrise, how he had never really stopped and taken the time to appreciate what was before him. He shared with me that God only gives you what you can handle for that day, when the sun is down its time to STOP worrying, and just take care of your self. Spoil yourself. WOW, something so very simple speaks volumes. I must admit that I didn’t get it at first BUT, as the weeks went on it all started to make sense. I was able to surprise Gary for his birthday and send a picture of a sunrise I had taken one morning here in Australia, so that no matter what he would always have a sunrise to look at on those raining days in Chicago. I never got to meet Gary in person, he has since passed on. I felt such a loss when he passed away, this wonderful person who shared so much, who was so sick saw something in me, gave me something to hold on to, he so inspired me and I started writing again because of him.

I got the feeling that Gary wouldn’t want us to get down and all of the sadness that he was gone. I started looking at the sunrise on Sunday mornings especially since I had the house to myself. Reminded myself of what Gary had said to be thankful for the day and what God gives me I can handle and when the sun goes down, take care of myself. To this day over a year since Gary has been gone I still keep that as my guidance for the day, its hard at times but I do it.

The best thing I think I can share when someone is facing the UGLY “C” word, is to let that person lead things. Don’t be afraid to be supportive, pray for them if you do, just let them know that you are there, help them to laugh just appreciate them, you have no clue where the journey is going to lead. Take the time to LISTEN, really listen and get informed.

I wish I would have had more time to talk with Gary, to learn more, to go to a Chicago White Sox game, all I can do is teach others what HE taught me, share those things he gave me, guess that’s what I have done. Shared with all of you what he gave me , TIME, a SUNRISE and the courage to keep going and not to forget.

The next time your up early and you see the sun starting to rise, take the time to really WATCH…remember that god will only give you what you can handle for that day, when its sunset, STOP worrying about it, you can’t so any more. Just take that evening time for YOU, recharge YOUR batteries.

You never know, A simple sunrise could change everything

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