|Me and Alice, Thanksgiving 2014, Corolla, NC|
If anyone has had a family member endure cancer before, they know it will not only wring you dry emotionally, it will wring you dry financially. The magnitude of this problem can be seen in the fact that a popular American TV show is based off a guy starting a meth empire because he needs an impossible amount of money to tackle his medical bills when he is diagnosed with cancer.
My mom has not started a meth empire, but she has some loving friends whose lives she has touched, who had the idea to give back by starting this fundraiser. The costs of treating cancer alone demonstrate its powers to cripple not just your joy, your energy, your family, your love, your years yet untapped, but also, cruelly and insatiably, your pocketbook.
Couple that with the cost of supporting children- not just children, but SEVEN children with unique health problems, hopes, and dreams of their own, and I literally could not tell you how my parents cope with the stress of it.
I know Mike works harder than I have ever seen anyone work at anything so he can provide for his family, sacrificing every aspect of his life and every minute of his (rare) spare time to make sure our lives are okay.
I know my mom continues to be my mother, in spite of all the forces of the world that would take her and make her otherwise, she continues to be actively involved in my life and the lives of all her children- she continues to care when I get good grades or a new job or when I come to her with my fears and my dreams. I know that even when cancer has sapped her energy, from somewhere deeper than life itself, from somewhere stronger than our human bodies themselves, she finds it, and it flows from that Source of the Eternal Love of the Mother endlessly and profusely, with a fire of love and a warmth of light that cancer has not and will not ever find in its power to take away.
It seems the Universe has heard our cry, and despite the garden of abundance among which we found ourselves when we thought we were condemned to a deserted foreign land, the Universe has seen fit to smile on that abundance, to open those flowers of love, to shed loving tears of nourishing rain. We have been given provision beyond all reckoning, and kissed with infinite genuine love by the souls of kind spirits all around, and yet the Universe said, "No, I have more to give you." And we looked around, just when we thought we possessed all the abundance of the world, and saw that there was more.
My mother, though her levels are looking better, does not feel this 'better' of which they speak. Her doctor says, well, that's your quality of life with leukemia. But such a quality of life is no life at all if he is to cast such a final judgment. We have hope that she does not have to suffer every single day for the rest of her life. We demand that that cannot and will not be true. Her networks developed through her online activism in the CML community have told her legends of a specialist in New York, a wizard of sorts, who is the best of his kind, who can work wonders- who can maybe, possibly, offer her a promise of something better.
This fundraiser, created by a friend, was just an idea that my mom initially dismissed as "tacky, rude" to "ask for money". We were expecting maybe a hundred dollars, at best, and that hundred dollars would have been a blessing and would have helped.
But we were not given a hundred dollars. We were given TWO THOUSAND dollars. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, not by organizations, but by real human beings, from their personal finances, from their savings accounts, from their weekend date money, from their grocery budgets, from their own paychecks- given, just freely given, with a force of love blowing with such magnitude that the iron clutch of cancer is forced to relinquish just a little, and breathe the cool breath of loving relief, just for a moment.
Because of those people, those angels, my mom is going to get to see that specialist. She might get her life back, or parts of it that resemble a mosaic more of her choosing.
We might get to keep her a little longer- she, my Mother, my only Mother, the only one I will ever have, through whom the Universe flows nourishment like an umbilicus of love and nurturing flowering my spirit in a way that no one else can, she connects me to my Source, she shines her light on my life and I grow into something wonderful, she makes my life okay but being here, just being here, and to think that she might get to be here a little bit longer- thank you.
My soul weeps with joy, my spirit leaps, and my heart shines with the promise of what yet may come- Hope, which is our lifeblood, which propels with vision into a meaningful future, which colors and enriches our lives- you have given hope to me.
Thank you so much.
Click here to see the Give Forward fundraiser.