Sunday, August 17, 2008

A tribute to Leroy Sievers

A long time ago, when my friend Anita's husband (who passed away in December) was diagnosed with colon cancer, I searched the web to find some way to help, some way to understand, to hope. In the process of that search, I found Leroy Sievers, a cancer survivor, who blogged about his journey. His quiet calm was very comforting and I shared the link to his blog with my friend. I don't know if she ever checked it out, I hope she did.

I didn't check Leroy's blog every day. Things have been very chaotic in my own life, and sometimes, thinking about the fact that someone so amazing could pass on, well, it was just too much for me at the time. When DH began his Lithium therapy, things started to calm down, and I decided to see "what had ever happened to Leroy" and, finding that, against all odds, he was still alive and blogging, I began to follow his journey again.

You know, when someone, especially someone "young", is dying, you always hear about them being referred to as "brave". I've never been sure if that is an accurate word, because I think that for most people, when you get cancer, you do what you've gotta do, not really like CHOOSING to go and fight a war, or CHOOSING to run into a burning building to save a child, there's not much choice involved (on the surface, anyhow), when a person has cancer. But Leroy showed me how many choices there really are, when you get stuck with something like that. What kind of attitude to have. When to call in hospice, whether to buy new clothes or not, so many choices that those of us, who still are living with the illusion that we are going to live "forever", don't even think about. And he shared his struggles over these choices with the world. To me, that really is brave. He didn't have to do that.

I have no idea how many cancer patients, spouses, and others he touched, but I can speak for myself. His support of others with his disease, sharing of his hopes and dreams, and the love he had for his family, on a regular basis, he helped me to see my mortality in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise. I'm so sad to learn that he has passed on.

And thinking about him, and all the things I learned from his journey, and the pain his wife must be experiencing right now, I just wanted to say one more thing. My husband didn't get to choose whether to have a mental illness either. I love him so much. I can't imagine losing him. Not now, not in 50 years. And he has faced his illness with a courage that, despite my complaints, I really do admire. He strives to be the best man he can be, even if he is learning that it's not the same man he was 5 years ago. And I'm happy to have him. I'm sure Leroy Sievers' wife would give anything to be in my shoes right now. Please keep her (and Leroy too) in your prayers.


manish said...
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