In the past few years, I have learned so many lessons. . .literally hard-learned ones! And don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for them, even if I didn’t know at the time I would be.
One of the hardest lessons has been learning about those who choose. It is sweet, and it is painful.
When my dad first got sick, back when he was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, we had all sorts of friends and family rally around us. There were meals delivered, cards sent, offers of help. And we were grateful and appreciative. And then. . .life went on. My dad came home from the hospital, and all of our lives fell into what became the normal pattern.
Fast forward five years: my dad started needing hospitalization more and more frequently, until finally, in May, he went into the hospital and never came home. It was a long six weeks of trips to and from the hospital, followed by the blur of grief. When my mother was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia two months later, it seemed more than we could bear.
Apparently, it WAS more than some people could bear. We realized as the months went on that we heard from fewer and fewer people.
But that is not who I want to talk about. I want to talk about those who choose. Because those who chose to hang on with us, those who chose to call each week, those who listened when we cried or whined. . .those are the people whom I will always treasure as my nearest and dearest. Turns out blood isn’t thicker than water, but love is stronger than obligation.
Those who choose could have stopped calling or writing after my mom died. They could have decided that since we moved south, or since it was really my parents with whom they were friends, or since we really didn’t “need” them anymore, they could back away.
But they didn’t. They called. They wrote. They listened. They advised. They visited! And most of all, they loved. They chose to love, even when it was painful or less than convenient.
I want to be one who chooses. Don’t you?