Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Abundance of Happiess

By Robin Kaye

Sometime life throws you curve balls that make you look at the world with a different perspective. There is a young girl, a classmate of my youngest daughter’s, who is losing her battle with cancer. She was diagnosed 4 ½ years ago with malignant brain tumors and everyone in town and in her school has waged war right along with her and her family in her fight for survival.

This young lady has so much life, courage, and love—she’s truly an inspiration. She’s touched the lives of countless people in a positive way and if the day comes that she must leave us, her memory will continue to inspire those who were lucky enough to know her.

Over the years I’ve witnessed that little girl give so much to so many—collecting toys for the other kids at the hospital she visited all too often, helping raise money for the local children’s hospital, brightening the lives of all those she’s graced with her smile. I’ve seen her laugh and love and experience life to the fullest—wringing out every ounce of happiness she could, only to spread it around.

After spending the last few years praying for her and her family, visiting her facebook page, making her hats to wear and a blanket to use when she returned to school. I’ve celebrated her good news, and now I await the bad. My thoughts turn to her with more frequency, I find myself coasting from smiles to tears and now more than ever I appreciate the abundant gifts I’ve been given.

I have a good life, great kids, the love of a wonderful man, a roof over my head (that no longer leaks), food, clothing, and a career I adore. I’ve always said I was a lucky woman and although I don’t believe I’ve ever taken it for granted, now I’m more aware of how precious and fleeting life can be. I hold fast to the good times and cherish everything just a little more. I’m working hard to wring out every ounce of happiness I can, and learning by the example of a very special hero, how to spread it around.

32 comments:

  1. We take too much for granted till a story like this one comes along. It may be sad, but her life, short though it may be, should still be celibrated and remembered. She and her family are in my prayers...

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  2. I so agree with Jessica. When I was in Army ROTC training, a junior cadet, one of the seniors at the college was experiencing horrible headaches. The doctor dismissed it as college stress. But it turned out she had a brain tumor and died shortly thereafter. She had all of her life ahead of her, and then it was cut short. In another case at my son's university, one of the AFROTC cadets went home for Christmas, and was diagnosed also with a brain tumor. They've memorialized her at the university, but it's always sad to think she never had a chance to have a family of her own, a career, a chance at life.

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  3. What a heartbreaking story, Robin, and one that makes us sit up and take notice. It sounds like this girl has already touched more lives than most people will in a full lifetime. How admirable. We do take things for granted. One thing I've tried to do every day is give thanks for my blessings. There are so many I can't even count them. Thanks for this reminder.

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  4. It's sharing of stories like this one that do makes us stop and realize just how lucky we are. Life may not be as perfect as I'd want, but it can be a lot worse than we ever imaged. Keeping this family (and yours) in my prayers.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  5. Thank you for posting this. I
    instantly thought of my friend Jenn and her family. Life is indeed precious and this post reminded me--again--of how very lucky I am. Life is short. Live. Love. Laugh.
    I'll be saying a prayer for this young lady and her family.

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  7. It's always sad when lives are cut short, but this proves that a life doesn't have to last 80 years to be worthwhile. She's packed more living into her brief time than most of us ever do. Here's a ((hug))and a ((prayer)) for her and her family.

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  8. Stories like this are great reminders that, even when it seems life is kicking you in the butt, there are so many others who deal with worse situations, and with such grace.

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  9. I'm touched by this young girl's story and I don't even know her. It's amazing how much of a difference one person can make. Thanks for reminding me of how lucky I am, Robin.

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  10. It's always good to stop and look at our lives gratefully from time to time. I feel so blessed and I'm glad you do too.

    Hugs, Ash

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  11. Hi Jessica~

    Life is definitely not something to be taken for granted. I've never known a 13 year-old who made more of an impression on so many. Thank you for the prayers for her and her family.

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  12. Terry~

    Her parents have a page on a wonderful website called caringbridge.org, Connecting family and friends when Health matters most. It's a place for the family to blog about the condition of their child so family and friends can be updated. I've followed her through the school, caringbridge and things the town has done. Her 13th birthday we had a parade in her honor and a Fairy party. She's a huge fan of Tinker Bell, so that was our theme. Everyone wore purple (her favorite color) with the word believe on it. What a day she had.

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  13. Terry~

    Her parents have a page on a wonderful website called caringbridge.org, Connecting family and friends when Health matters most. It's a place for the family to blog about the condition of their child so family and friends can be updated. I've followed her through the school, caringbridge and things the town has done. Her 13th birthday we had a parade in her honor and a Fairy party. She's a huge fan of Tinker Bell, so that was our theme. Everyone wore purple (her favorite color) with the word believe on it. What a day she had.

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  14. Anita~

    Giving thanks is a good thing. I end every day thankful for all I have, the health of my family, and having the precious time I have with them. My heart bleeds for this little girl's parents and sisters. I've been the position to pray that a child of mine would survive. I couldn't imagine anything worse than those few days. At least then there was always hope. Once that hope is gone, one wonders where you get the strength to pray for a peaceful ending...

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  15. Mason~ Thanks for all the prayers. After spending a lot of time at the Shriner's Children's Hospital with my youngest, I learned to be very thankful for all the gifts we have. It changed my life then, and this little girl changed it even more.

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  16. Sara~

    It's been hard lately to think of abundance and all of life's gifts without a bit of sorrow for all of those who have to face the horrible curve balls life tosses our way. Thanks for the prayers.

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  17. Thanks so much Cheryl - Life is what you make of it, no matter how long it lasts. That's something I always try to keep in mind.

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  18. Tamara~ Grace is the perfect word to describe how she lived her life. Thanks for that.

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  19. Olivia ~ It's been my pleasure and the writing has been very cathartic. Writing helps me work things out, and this blog was exactly what I needed. I wanted to celebrate her life and the things I've learned from her without having to focus on the end.

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  20. Ashlyn~ I do feel very blessed, both to have the life I lead and having known such a remarkable young lady.

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  21. Your young friend reminds us all that it isn't how long you live, it's how much.

    I will add her to my prayer list.

    Finally having little breathing space, I'm tackling the Casa-loot I picked up at RWA. Opened Too Hot to Handle this AM. It's wonderful. I am totally entranced with the characters.

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  22. That's a wonderful story to share, Robin, and how wonderful she's doing so much instead of sitting in a dark room feeling sorry for herself.

    We need to value what we have, not material goods, but friends, family, and that which makes us what and who we are.

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  23. Oh Robing, your story brings tears to my eyes. It is so sad when a beautiful life is cut short. How wonderful though that her whole town has supported her and her family through this. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for every day.

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  24. What a touching story Robin. Thanks for sharing it.

    I don't want to get too preachy/sappy but I was that young girl's sister once. When I was 12, my 10 1/2 year old sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease (in the 60's before it was curable). My mom didn't want her to know so we weren't allowed to talk to her about it but she must have known sitting there at the hospital with other sick kids. My sister must have felt so alone & scared. I'm so glad this girl's parents are sharing this journey with her.

    Before my sister died just before her 19th birthday (2 years after our died of the same thing) I realized that sick people are so wise(they have a lot of time to think & prepare when they're in the hospital) & ready to go before we are ready to let them go.

    My younger sisters, who were 14 at the time, agreed that life is too short & that we'd never sweat the small stuff. Well we laugh at those lofty goals now because we're human & we still had our moments.

    I hope this girl's courage carries her through. It's hard when a loved one is ill but when it's a young person, it just hurts. My sis was a Sick Kids in Toronto & I saw babies there with cancer. I didn't & still don't get that.
    Thanks for listening.

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  25. MM~ Thanks so much for the prayers. I'm sure God is feeling quite overjoyed by the outpouring of love and support for my little hero.

    I'm so glad you're enjoying THTH.

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  26. MM~ Thanks so much for the prayers. I'm sure God is feeling quite overjoyed by the outpouring of love and support for my little hero.

    I'm so glad you're enjoying THTH.

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  27. MM~ Thanks so much for the prayers. I'm sure God is feeling quite overjoyed by the outpouring of love and support for my little hero.

    I'm so glad you're enjoying THTH.

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  28. Linda and Amanda~

    You are both so right.

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  29. Oh Mary~

    I'm so sorry about your sister. Hodgkin's is such a horrible disease. I lost my boyfriend, a man I would have gladly spent a lifetime loving to Hodgkin's in 1987. He had already gone through chemo 9 times when the first trials for bone marrow transplants began. His brother was a perfect match, but since he'd been through so much chemo, they didn't think he was a good candidate. At the time the trials were so new,they only took the best/strongest cases so the numbers looked better. While I understood their need to be successful, I had a hard time believing in the whole greater-good thing when the man I loved was dying.

    Still - Hodgkin's is now considered a curable cancer so the treatment has come a long ways since Kip and your sister lost their lives to it. Losing someone like that leaves a permanent hole in your heart. It's been twenty-three years and I still miss his presence. I can't imagine losing a sister...I'm so sorry. ((((Hugs))))

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  30. How often we don't recognize our good fortune until we realize what it would mean to lose it! She sounds like a very special young lady who will live on in the hearts of many people. It's heartwarming to hear how your community has joined to support her.

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  31. Wow Robin.
    Your story is so touching, sad & romantic at the same time. How ironic that is about the treatments.

    Jenny actually died because the chemo ruined her lungs rather than dying of HD. Of course 34 years later, it's such a fine art. They know exactly the minimum treatment to give & still kill the cancer cells. I found out that one of my neighbors got HD about 5 years
    after my sister did. Her lungs were ruined as well but she survived & had a lung transplant. So even 5 years made a difference.

    Remarkably, Jenny took her illness
    in stride. She never wanted people to know she was sick & feel sorry for her. She managed to graduate high school & start college before breathing became a struggle. She was very philosophical, one day telling me that cancer patients are guinea pigs. They have to try everything they can. You can die of the disease or the treatment.
    Wish I could accept that as easily as she did. Thanks for sharing your story about your special guy Kip. ((hugs back))

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  32. Your post brought tears to my eyes, Robin. I lost a cousin at the tender age of 7 years old, and it's a loss that still remains with me today, and no matter how difficult life seems, I remember her courage as an inspiration. Lovely post.

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