Saturday, February 27, 2010
Hello there to my blogger friends. As you've noticed, I've been away for a little while. I still have a little of this pneumonia thing going on, but I'm getting better everyday.
I'm very proud to have my daughter, Jennifer, post today. It's a very special post not only because of the beautiful content it speaks of, but it is a true story and one that was selected to be published this Sunday in the Rock and Roll Mardi Gras Marathon publication. This is her very first official publication.
Footsteps: A Story About Love
Umbrellas were useless.
We were soaked and an hour away from home. As we walked down that hospital hallway, I was frightened.
How long would an eighteen year old, football playing, drag racing boy stick around the cancer ward? Was he going to turn around and walk away when he met my mom? Would he make a lame excuse, cutting the day short like the boys before him? Most of the guys who were naive enough to ask me out, after being fully informed of our personal war against cancer, quickly realized that it was too much reality for a first date.
It seemed impossible to find someone willing to look past my mom’s bald head, plastic tubes coming out of her chest and other available body parts and see into her eyes.It was impossible to find someone willing to go to a hospital instead of the movies on a Friday night date.
But here we were, first date to meet the parents, at the hospital, cold rain and all. I stepped into the room first to make sure she was covered as decently as possible. Mom whispered to me as I straightened her bed sheets that she heard his boots coming down the hallway, and she knew. Somehow his footsteps had been different from the others. The steps were stronger, more confident than the others she heard before.
I didn’t argue with her. Who argues with a woman who is on her death bed? I certainly wasn’t going to debate the likelihood that footsteps determine someone’s character, especially with a woman who was so sure she was going to die that she gave me, a mere sixteen year old, the papers that directed out her dying wishes. No, she could determine his character by his footsteps if she wanted to.
I slipped out to get him and prepare him one last time for what he would see. When he entered the room, he dropped my hand, went over to the bed and reached down around the tubes and other devices to hug her neck. Then he turned and shook hands with my father and made small talk. I went to sit by Mom and she whispered, “I told you. It was his footsteps; they’re different.” And, she was right.
They were different in many ways. The footsteps were around when she was being carried from specialist to specialist. The footsteps were around when radiation damaged part of her lungs and heart. The footsteps were around when chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her body.
The footsteps were around when we finally received the news that she was in remission, and small fuzz started growing on the top of her head.
The footsteps were around the day tears fell because she realized a lifelong dream of running a marathon was out of reach.
The footsteps have been around for 21 years now. They walked the aisle to make a lifelong promise to me. They walked the hospital halls when our children were born. They walked the steps of the school for every program and football game our children had. And in a few months, they will walk to see our firstborn graduate high school.
Running a marathon, who has the strength for that? But, then who has the strength to battle cancer?
Nobody asked my mom if she wanted cancer. Nobody asked me to run a marathon. When I decided to complete a lifelong dream for my mom by running a marathon in her honor, I was worried about the tremendous undertaking I had vowed to complete.
How would I do it alone? I’ve never taken part of an official race of any kind. Less than 9 months ago, I couldn’t run a mile. But, I should have known better.
See his footsteps ARE different. The same footsteps that walked those hospital halls with me 21 years ago, are the same footsteps that are going to be just a few strides in front of mine, motivating me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult the journey becomes.
****This Sunday morning, my daughter and son in law will be running in the 2010 Rock and Roll Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. That's 26.2 miles for those that may not be familiar with these races. My granddaughter Brittney and her boyfriend, Juan will be running the half marathon. My heart and prayers will be with them.
It means more to me than words could ever possibly express to have them there and participating in such an event, in my honor. Someday I will be able to put the words together, but for now it's difficult to type when your eyes are filled with tears and your heart is about to burst with joy.
Look for me at the finish line. I'll be the one waving the red handkerchief!
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" II Tim 4;7