Terminal Hope; Not Homelessness

On December 31st, I wrote about hopeful expectation for the newest decade. I’d said I felt sizable hope but tempered with the need to tread carefully for a while. That thought was focused on the large-scale issues surrounding us: things like Indigenous treaty, territorial and sovereign rights; climate change; alternative energy fights; the lack of decency in all political governance and so on.

By January 1st, it was clear any trepidation about those big issues was not going to match the colossal wrecking ball coming much closer to home.

Today, I beg you to read my words to the end.

My last previous post was a small tribute to my beautiful, 22 yr. old. nephew who’d become a victim of the opioid crisis on New Year’s Day. Twenty days after that, we got devastating news about my sister.

Tragedies happen every day to families and as a family with solid membership in that pool, there are many days I wonder how we manage to keep going at all. But this takes me back to that sense of hope I’d mentioned. Maybe it’s something not fathomable at all. I don’t know what to make of it, but maybe what emerges from that hope is a greater good. I have no idea what that looks like either, but my heart is saying, hold on and do what you can. Do it with all the love you’ve got and wait. Apparently, that’s all I get to know. I’ll live with that; because we all do. That’s all we’ve got.

The rest of this post is the wording I’ve used for her fundraising campaign. Living in the U.S with little health insurance means this is what we get to do and in the very act itself, it’s clear this is something we have to do. I hope you’ll read this small part of her story, and I hope you will help in sharing it.

Hiy hiy,

RL

She was always fiercely independent and she’s still on her own with her youngest son, 14 yrs. old, but this is a fight no one can do on their own.

She lives in Arizona, where the beauty of its big sky and desert landscapes drew her years ago. She had a great job. She had a great apartment and a great car, but what does that matter when a tumor pushes your brain toward the other side of your skull and you no longer think with a healthy logic?  

She’d inexplicably quit her job, which canceled her health insurance and benefits. She couldn’t remember why, nor when she’d last paid bills or even if. She didn’t know how to feel. As in, how to react to what was happening around her. She still made sure her boy got to school and had food on the table though.  Carrying on was always the order; until he came home from school one day and found her laying on her bedroom floor, dis-ordered. She was unable to stand or speak properly, making only nonsensical short sentences.

Within 48 hours of that shocking discovery, on January 22, my sister received a diagnosis of a glioblastoma tumor, in phase 4. That’s her scan in the opening image; it’s clear where the tumor is. It’s very aggressive, incurable cancer. She couldn’t and still can’t, remember the entire 3 months prior. They removed 99% of the tumor, but it’ll never stop growing. We learned on February 20th that surgery bought her 12-16 more weeks without treatment, of which 4 weeks had already been taken. They said she could have up to 18 months with treatment. She begins those treatments on February 27th.

Terminal cancer patients should have time to prepare with their children for the inevitability. The dying should have peace to make proper, or frankly any, arrangements. They should be able wrap their arms around their family and talk about their love for one another and even, if blessed, have time to close wounds created within the damages of life.

$25,000 is to cover what we can for an estimated period of 6 – 12 months. This is the minimum calculated to supplement the assistance we’ve applied for including insurance premium funding. This is for rent, food, medications and seemingly endless unexpected/unknown incidentals. She will have to move by March 31, 2020 if we don’t have the rent for April 1st. Please help us get that rent, and God-willing for any months she has left after that.

This will give her time; precious, precious minutes, to work out what she can, to make whatever arrangements are necessary, especially for her kids. We just want to give her some peace and a few more months of hugs. We just want to help. We just want to show her our love, before she says goodbye. A lifetime for $25,000.

$5, $10, $20, whatever number, helps. Thank you, for any and every cent that comes her way.  Cancer societies around the world always say every cent counts, and it does. It really, really does.

Click here to go to the fundraising account for Reva. With deep gratitude please help if you can, and share either way.

Pick a Hero, Any Hero, Even if it Turns Out To Be You

I thought I’d speak to another level of resolutions, as the idea of new beginnings for a new year gels for many. I’d originally posted this last spring, but I can’t help thinking the winds of change in progress means looking at the world and our place in it a little more – and that maybe helping people is in itself a full enough belief system…

It would be crushing to write another Dejah story.  Despite the privilege of being able to write about it, I wish there’d never been a Dejah Milne story in the first place.  At least not the way it had to be written because otherwise the right story would say that his mother, father, and sister are still able to hold him and hug him whenever they want.

They’d be able to laugh with him, instead of at videos of his silly fun from days not so long gone by.  They would be able to hear his ‘I love you too’s with his voice.  They’d get to be angry with him for messing up the house, or coming home too late, or maybe denting the car’s bumper.   I know they’d rather that kind of everyday eye-rolling frustration instead of coping with the anguish of his absence now, because at age 13 years, he wasn’t able to overcome the tumour that he’d carried for 10 years.

I don’t want to write those stories if it can be helped at all. I don’t know anyone who does. The problem is, that the problems that end with those stories aren’t finished yet.  There are so many issues that need someone to stand up for them and in support of the cavalcade of teams who work tirelessly to end them once, and honestly for all.

These are the teams of people who have been called, or sometimes brutally and harshly forced, at a spirit level, to take charge in the parts of life that are painful, agonizing, hideous, and terrifying.  That’s heroics.

They are thrown toward the front lines to take on the darkness for us.  They stand and push as far as they can to get answers to the challenges that debilitate or outright steal loved ones from us.  They strive to make our world better, easier, more livable.

They need little from anyone else when it’s all put into perspective.  They’ve already taken on the heavy end of the fight.  They’re slogging, sweating, bleeding, and crying so that the rest of us get to hang back and throw out what we are able, when we can even as, just like us, they still have to navigate the trials of everyday life.

They ask for our help, but not for things like go earn a science degree or a doctorate, or to put our lives on the line, or to organize any kind of effort beyond our ability.

Those calls are usually only pleas to be heard, for us to see what is happening, and they ask us to spend the least of what we wish to.  Then they call us ‘their heroes’ for giving that bit.

Let’s get real please; they aren’t really asking for our heroics.  They are asking us to share only a little of our resources to sustain their herculean efforts for our sake.

Charity Capture distorted 3It doesn’t matter how we acknowledge that they’ve been heard.  Spend your hour of time.  Send your $2, $20, or your $20,000,000 if you can. Send your willingness to walk, run, dance, fast, drive, stand, or create, but whatever you do, please do not ignore these direct calls to your own soul. This is the least we can do, literally.

Look, whatever we choose to support today is directly connected to whatever is to be resolved tomorrow and in the issues in the days after that.  Start by choosing one, any one cause that made you turn your face toward it for even a minute.   We can all help another mother, father, son, brother, daughter and sister not have to spend another day in fear and grief.  That’s kind of heroic, right?

RL