This I Believe

Lisa - Manchester, New Hampshire
Entered on December 20, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness

I have seen the true face of courage and selflessness thru the eyes of two of the closes people to me. Four years ago I was feeling really sorry for myself; it was the holiday season and my father had just died. My thoughts went to all the things I hadn’t said when I had the chance. Even as he lay in his hospital bed I held back for fear of him thinking that my words would suggest his emanate demise. I thought about how, sick with pneumonia and given a recent diagnosis of bone cancer, my father held my sister close to him so that he could comfort her as she cried uncontrollably. I thought about the fact that even in those moments he never stopped being a Dad. I believe that for every time I have put someone first, the rewards have come back to me tenfold.

Right after Christmas that same year, my best friend gave me the news that she had a rare and aggressive form of Breast Cancer. She waited until after the holidays before she told me. I can only imagine the kind of holiday season she had. She told me that she was going to be part of a clinical trial that would eventually prove to be her saving grace, or so I thought.

As I watched her bravely walk thru unknown territory with an uncertain future, I couldn’t understand how she could outwardly seem so calm and strong. She was very focused on getting the best treatment and keep up a great outward attitude even when we went to the wig shop in anticipation of what lay ahead. Her only child was 3 years old at the time and the light of her life. She was being brave for him, strong for him and in doing so, helping herself.

If I have learned anything in life it is when you take care of another you often heal yourself. Having courage on the outset sounds like a natural inclination when faced with your own mortality, but when you think about why you are being brave, you realize that it is for another’s benefit. It is deciding that they, not you are the reasons that truly matter in your heart. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give the ones you love and ultimately the best gift you can give yourself. Being there for those who need you, it is these things we do without thought of ourselves that really matter.

This I believe