Friday, April 10, 2015

It does not discriminate

Today I found myself drawn to a story about a brave young lady that I have actually been following for some time through the news as well as her Facebook page. Today, 19-year-old Lauren Hill, died after a long fight with cancer. I am not going to lie when I say I've actually been monitoring the news to know how she was doing, and part of me is happy for her family that she finally found peace but also sad because she is much too young to be taken so soon.

Out of curiosity, I watched her last interview, where she talked about how she wanted people to remember her as a hero who showed cancer who was boss. She didn't want to say she was a quitter, and part of me wonders if she thought by dying she would be thought as a quitter. I sure hope not because that is far from what is actually true. That poor girl went through what no one in this world should ever have to endure. She is every bit the hero she was hoping to be.

I probably should not have watched the interview because watching how painful it was for her to talk and seeing the pictures of what she used to look like before all of the radiation, chemo and steroid treatments she had to endure, it just flashed me back to watching those I love go through that battle. It's just not right. The more I thought about it the more angry I got and then the more sad I felt because this happens all too often. And then, like it was some kind of irony, in scrolling through my Facebook feed I come across a video of a classmate who graduated one year behind me who died two years ago from breast cancer. The slide show was in honor of her birthday, and the pictures showed her in happier days, as a teenager, in college, getting married, having a little girl. It also showed pictures of her going through treatment always with a smile on her face, always brave. The video ended with a picture of her kissing her little girl in one of the last photo sessions she had requested so that her little girl could have those pictures someday as she got older. Heart. Broke.

I do not know Lauren by any means other than what I have seen in the news, and I only know this classmate as an acquaintance if that, but my heart goes out to both of their families. They lost these beautiful women who had so much life and so much to give this world, all to this horrible disease. I remember my mom once venting about cancer taking those she loved, including her own mother in 2000, saying that cancer does not discriminate. It really does not. It is a tragedy if it takes someone's life who his 99 as well as someone who is 19. Because at one point in time, these people were just living their daily lives, thinking everything was fine. They happened to go to the doctor because something was not right and boom, their entire lives change in that one moment. For something that should not even exist.

I am almost 34-years-old. My Aunt Linda passed away from ovarian cancer when she was 36-years-old, and I was 12 at the time. I remember thinking that while, yes, she was young, that age seemed so far away. I am almost that age now. God, I cannot even imagine. I can't imagine the emotions she went through, the pain and the anger, only to come to the realization and acceptance of what is. Watching the interview of Lauren talking about this disease, you could hear all of that in what she was saying. She knew her time was limited, and she was angry, frustrated for her family, sad and scared. You just wanted to reach through the screen and hold her and not let go. Cancer does not discriminate.

I think of all three of these women, and I do have to remind myself of one thing. They are in a better place. They are at peace. And they always live in the hearts of those whose lives they touched. God bless all of them and their families as well.

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