They call it the silent killer, a disease that lays dormant in your body and flares up without rhyme or reason. But to those families directly affected by this monstrosity, Cancer is not silent, and the carnage it leaves as it destroys everything and everyone in its path will never be rebuilt.
I have watched my aunt, only 7 years my elder, go toe to toe with this illness. One of the strongest human beings I will ever have the pleasure of knowing. I don’t see her as often as I’d like, I don’t hang out with her as much as I use to, when we were both younger, and carefree.
Enjoying life as it came to us.
My aunt is a fighter. She has vowed to knock cancer out, and when I look into her eyes, I believe her.
I believe that she can, and will stand tall when the dust settles. She will live a happy, healthy life, with her family, and think back to these rough days and proudly smile that she overcame, what so many can not.
The enormous affect this illness has left, and will leave on her body, and mind, and soul are things that cannot be expressed nor explained.
Something about her eyes, something about her stare, the small tiny laugh after every tear she sheds, the whimper in every joke she tells.
These are rough times. These are tough times. They are called Rough and Tough because they are amplified. Every second feels like a lifetime, every day plays through our minds like a movie on repeat. We want to reach out, and pick her up, and fight this cancer for her. We want to rip this pain, and suffering away from her, even for just one lifetime like second.
But this is a fight she must face alone. This is a battle she will win, without the helping fists of a family that loves her more than they could ever express.
This illness has affected her, and it has changed her, and as she continues battling, all that will be left is her unyielding faith that God will train her, and coach her through this awful experience.
As a family, we must stand tall with her. But we mustn’t give in to the pressures this illness brings to our doorsteps.
She is not an invalid.
She is not someone who needs to be carried through life.
She is not someone who has given up. Not now! Not ever!
She is a strong woman, an independent woman that could rise above sky scrapers, lift elephants, and punch through walls of steel to get to where she needs to be.
She needs us to trust in her. She needs us to let her figure out how to do some things for herself.
She needs our support, not for us to save her.
Only God, and her intestinal fortitude, and her brave inspirational fight can save her.
My aunt does not need our pity. She does not need sympathy, or for us to look at her with eyes that are swollen from shedding tears. She doesn't need our sadness, or our stress. She doesn't need us to carry her, she doesn't need us to fight or speak out for her.
My aunt needs our support. Our unconditional love, our smiles, our kisses, our hugs.
She needs to hear our voices, she needs to feel normal, in a time where normal is so far gone, we laugh to keep the tears at bay.
She needs our prayers, she needs us to be real with her.
She needs our surprise visits, our text messages, and most of all my aunt needs us to understand.
She needs us to understand that this is her reality. That nothing we say, or do will push her off the path she’s on.
For better or worse. She needs to know that we are proud of her for standing up to this illness, and for 4 and half years beating the shit out of it, every chance she gets.
We must understand that like any fight, there are some rounds that we lose, and we have to be okay with that. We have to understand that sometimes things must get worse before they can get better.
Rosey! As your nephew, I am inspired by your courage. I am in awe of your strength, and I love you more than I’ll ever be able to show you.
I am blessed to have been raised along side you, to have watched you on your wedding day, and to have witnessed you become an amazing mother to your two beautiful girls.
You serve as an unbelievably unequivocally extravagant role model to me, to my cousins, to your daughters, and to the rest of our family.
I look forward to the day you beat this cancer. To the day your life returns to the way it ought to be.
Remember, you must face this beast head on, and when you look to your left and to your right you may not see us there with you. It’s not because we don't want to be, its not because we don't want a chance to beat that cancer out of your brain, and out of our lives. You don't see us to your left or right, because we must stand behind you. We must continue to encourage, and support you, and allow you the opportunity to win this fight on your own.
And anytime, cancer knocks you to your knees, we will come running to help you right back up.
We love you auntie! We trust in the fight you have in your heart. We believe that you are stronger than this illness. We know that you will win!
God Bless You, your husband and your girls. Now and always!