Friday, February 12, 2010
Three years ago today I got the phone call that I knew was coming. It was from my father telling me that my Auntie Nancy had passed. Prior to this phone call, two days before, both Lindsey and I went to see Auntie Nancy for what was our last time. Although some family members were hesitant about us doing this, we knew in our hearts how important this was. Nobody can prepare you for the moment you have to say goodbye to someone for the very last time. For me, this was the most difficult experience of my life, but when looking back, I realize how important it was in getting me to the point I am at today.
Today, I have the courage, determination, and strength I need to get me through each day, and I thank Auntie Nancy for this. By all means, I am not saying that there is no struggle involved, because there is. It still hurts to go through milestones and experiences without her there. When I most recently passed my exam and became a nurse, I immediately wanted to pick up the phone to tell her. She was always so proud of her "niece the nurse" and I can easily attribute much of my success to her. Having Auntie Nancy in my daily thoughts has provided me the constant motivation I needed to accomplished my goal of becoming a nurse. Although I still struggle at times facing the reality that she is physically absent, one thing remains certain. The courage, determination, and strength she provided me with has allowed me to work towards another very important goal.
The goal is to run 26.2 miles in honor of the extraordinary person that Auntie Nancy was and the incredible legacy she left. I have gone into the marathon training experience with an open mind, knowing that I will have my good runs and my bad runs, but at the end of the day, I know where my motivation comes from. It comes from my role model, my second mom, and my friend. It comes from my Auntie Nancy, with whom has provided me with everything I need to reach the ultimate finish line: A World Without Cancer.
I miss you more and more each day, but I know you are always watching over me. I love you.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Yesterday, a dear professor of mine passed away after a long and courageous battle with colon cancer. Eileen Hayes was a nursing professor during my final semester at UMass. She took a leave of absence halfway through the semester to focus entirely on her treatment and to get well. I have an email from Eileen that she sent to my nursing class, discussing her condition, treatment, and outlook on the future. Despite the difficult and unimaginable battle she was fighting, Eileen always remained positive.
From the moment I met Eileen, I knew there was something special about the extraordinary individual she was. She was genuine. Compassionate. Kind-hearted. Eileen mentored and inspired her students and always brought out the best in every individual she came in contact with. She was a beloved and highly respected teacher, and I will forever be grateful for the relationship I had with her.
In the email Eileen sent, she shared with us an Irish blessing that was important to her, and in memory of this remarkable woman, I would like to share it with everyone as well.
An Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Thank you for opening up your heart, sharing your smile, and teaching me the importance of being a compassionate and competent nurse. You will forever be an inspiration and will never be forgotten.
Another reason why I run....