Over the past few weeks, I've shed tears for people I've never met but who I felt like I knew because I was friends with someone who loved them. All are people who lost their lives because of cancer and whose lives I only knew about because someone who loved them unconditionally chose to share their story (and their love of them) with me.
A new year will be here in a couple of days and as we all prepare to toast to the new year, and new beginnings... I have a toast that I must share.
This toast is to the caregivers. The watchers. The lovers. The siblings. The medical staff. The friends and the colleagues. This toast is for the friends who pray for us and support us when we cry or feel weak and get angry because of this disease. I salute everyone who has ever lost someone they cared about to cancer. Because I know... it ain't easy watching and caring for someone as their body changes and becomes something else. Even while their spirit and personality grows larger.
I say thank you... for loving me, for loving them. I say thank you... for tolerating my mood swings and my craziness. Thank you for hugging me, and laughing with me. Thank you for helping me to remember that I am bigger than this disease. Thank you for loving the other people who loved me too. Thank you for carrying my memory with you and sharing me with the world. Thank you for reminding me of how much God loves me by giving me a chance to share my life with you. Thank you for everything you ever said to make me smile. And thank you for letting me cry. Thank you for not turning your back on me... even as others may have.
Thank you. You made this journey so very worthwhile.
If you are, have been, or know someone who has been a caregiver to a cancer survivor... give them a hug and tell them thank you for your service and friendship. None of us get through this disease alone. It takes a team of medical staff and a team of personal friends and family... to help you fight back and keep fighting... even to the bitter end.
As 2011 comes to a close... for every person that the world lost because of cancer I would like to say to all of the caregivers out there... Thank you. Your light helped them to shine.