Last Thursday was my husband’s birthday. Usually this event is a celebration that lasts for a full week. It has always been a big deal, that’s how he was raised, on your birthday you celebrate. That’s what we’ve done for the full 30 years of our marriage. This year it was a little different, necessarily. He’s in chemotherapy and has a compromised immune system. He also has little to no energy which means that we need to pace the events and the comings and goings. Despite that, he still managed to have a heck of a celebration. We had 20 people stop by at various times of the day and numerous telephone calls as well. He missed his usual nap and pushed it to the max, staying up for the entire day until the last person left at midnight. It was worth it. Although it won’t be a week long celebration, it still was a good solid day spent with family and friends. We’ve spent two days catching up but in the grand scheme of things what’s two days?
Looking back on the past two months I realize how important family and friends are. We have had so many people stop by with words of encouragement, premade meals, coffees, books – you name it. The neighbors have been more than supportive, mowing the lawn when it needed it, stopping by to see if there were errands to be done, making sure we know they are there for us. And then there are the random acts of kindness by strangers. People who don’t know us well, but know what we are dealing with and have helped, guided or supported us when we needed them. Everyone has their struggles and problems and sometimes they can seem overwhelming – but usually there is someone there to help, to pick you up when you are down. This is a life altering experience for us and for me in particular. I know that for me I have a far greater appreciation of the little things, the things we take for granted. A nice day, feeling healthy, a shoulder to lean on, a helping hand – these are things that have new meaning for me and that I hopefully will never ever take for granted for the balance of my days.