The first day Joe was at UCI (the large university hospital we transferred to after a week at our small community hospital), our good friends Buzz and Maria met Jeff and me across the street at BJ’s and treated us to dinner. We were tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, and just sitting on the patio with them for a couple of hours, taking time to eat and processing what was happening, was a valuable gift.
If you follow this blog you know I love solitude and seem to need more than most. But there’s nothing like walking through a dark valley to make even the most strident introvert admit that people and relationships are where it’s at. We were served, prayed for, and encouraged in so many ways.
Maria, a busy professor of nursing, made sure she was available to sit with me during Joe’s surgeries. Along our three-year journey, fellow homeschool moms donated valuable essential oils, my friend Soko put us in touch with the people at UCLA (top cancer center with clinical trials), my high school best friend Laurie took time off from her busy schedule to travel 500 miles, just to be with me for a few days. My brother Dave and my sister Lynn were in constant communication with us. Our friend Jack (an expert chess player) came over to play chess with Joe and teach him more about the game.
Many, many people we’d never met contacted us via Facebook. A friend of a friend, who was dealing with his own brain cancer, reached out to us to offer support and encouragement. His name was Chuck, and he died the same year Joe did, a huge loss for all who knew him.
God continually made His presence and His comfort known in our family. Sometimes He worked through people we’ve known for decades, like Jerry or Maria; sometimes blessings came via complete strangers like Chuck, Brian,or the tough, tattooed post-op nurse who connected with Joe and encouraged him after his first surgery, and many times we were blessed by people who were barely acquaintances but have since become good friends.
I wish I could mention and thank by name each person who ministered to us along the way. I can only hope they are happy knowing they made our hard journey more bearable.