I have learned that bravery is shown in many ways. One can show his or her bravery by daily giving his or her life and time in the service of protecting our country at home or on some distant shore. Another may show it by publicly voicing his or her opinion on the inequalities this generation has to tolerate in order to merely survive. There are others who suffer daily the pain and agony of a disease that has taken hold of their bodies and lives forever changing their dreams and future. One such individual is my precious niece, Brooke. In the midst of starting a bright and promising future and family, devastation hit. After giving birth to a beautiful baby boy, Logan Alexzander, in March, we were faced with that one word that every family fears most...cancer. Just a few weeks after celebrating new life, we were praying for God to restore a healthy one.
Brooke has shown such courage and bravery in her every day fight to get better. Despite the loss of her hair and the weekly chemo treatments (and the pain associated with that), she has kept a bright outlook. We are waiting now to find out when they will be able to operate in order to remove the tumor in her back. We have, however, gotten good news in the way of her tumor size..it has gotten smaller! Praise the Lord! We are still unsure if she will still have to undergo any treatments after surgery or not...hopefully NOT!
It's been surprisingly hard to be around her, as bad as that sounds. I didn't realize that I would have flashbacks and emotions (concerning my own history with cancer and chemo) that would surface. I try to be an encouragement whenever I see her or talk to her, but in the pit of my stomach I ache for her. I know some of the pain and some of the thoughts that must running through her body and mind. "Will this ever end?", "what if it doesn't get any better?", "dear God, what if I can't fight this?". But I have to remain positive and strong, just as she will and is. Praying has helped, but it isn't easy just standing on the sidelines unable to make a physical difference. I guess that's why it is so difficult to be near her. She has to learn to rely on herself, her husband, her parents, and her other family members. I don't want to interfere if she doesn't need my help right now...so I wait patiently (or not so patiently...depends on the day.). I just hope that she realizes what a loving, concerned support group she has. She is a young lady and mother, but she is also still my little niece. The same little girl that would beg to jump on the trampoline with me; the same little girl that would fall asleep in my bedroom floor while watching television; the same little girl that taught me how easy it is to love someone else. For that, I will be eternally grateful to her and for her.
I love you, Brooke. Remember that this, too, shall pass.