But there she sat, his beloved, determined, focused, even optimistically ready to take on the tumor. Surgery became the next step. The first to arrive was his oldest daughter. She led him through the days that followed. Without her, he might have never moved by his wife's bedside. The daughter called her siblings who all stood by waiting, holding their collective breath. The prognosis was not what the old man wanted to hear. "We couldn't get it all. Chemo and radiation are next."
He took her to a preeminent cancer clinic for treatment after the many difficult days of recovery following the surgery. He cried inside at her black eye and the ugly incision scar on her head. He felt helpless but sprang into action, doing whatever it took to get her to the treatments. She was so brave and positive, but he couldn't shake the depression that closed in on him tighter every day.
His step-daughter and her husband and four-year-old grandson were the first to arrive. They were like a small stream of light seeping through his own brain and brightening his wife's world.
Next came his youngest son and his two daughters. They filled their home with warmth and laughter, the girls putting up the Christmas Tree and decorations and baking goodies. The stream of light in the old man's mind opened a little wider.
His oldest daughter came down with the flu and refused to be around them, fearful she would make both of them ill with it. The old man fought hard to keep everything going. Then, his oldest son and his wife arrived just after Christmas. They brought gifts - a new computer for the old man, an electronic picture frame with hundreds of photographs of the entire family for his wife. His daughter-in-law took his wife shopping to pick out a new purse and clothes. They went out to dinners and movies, and in the process put a smile on both the old man and his wife's faces.
Friends and other family called often to offer love and support. And then, a ray of hope. Two new experimental treatments to kill the rest of the brain tumor.
The darkness fought hard to envelope the old man, but the band of light was growing wider. The rush of unconditional love surrounded both he and his wife. Everyone rejoiced with news of the new treatments.
Family members had to return to their everyday lives, but they left with great hope in their hearts. The old man's wife could win this battle. She would win this battle. But, hadn't she already won life's battle? The unconditional love that surrounds us in times of crisis is what counts the most in relationships. The measure of one's life can be taken by the support received in our darkest hours. The old man and his wife were left with the knowledge that they are both greatly loved and would always be supported by those who matter the most to them.
Isn't that what is most important in life?
Til Next Time,