Everything in my life has felt off-kilter since a bit before Thanksgiving, so while everyone was spreading tidings of thankfulness and joy I really wasn’t feeling it. I did have a nice Thanksgiving for the most part, and I am very thankful for all the blessings in my life, of which there are many, but I just wasn’t in super-cheery mode. I don’t want to turn into a woe-is-me pity party and go on about everything that’s off in my life, but I’ve got to talk about one thing because I can’t hold it in anymore.
I’ve mentioned my cousin Sam who was diagnosed three years ago with medulloblastoma. Things are not going well for him. He’s out of treatment options as the tumors in his brain stopped responding to everything. He’s basically just waiting for the end to come now as the tumors quickly are causing him to become paralyzed. He’s 19.
Every case of cancer is awful. Every death is tragic. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered either, but it is the first time I’ve had to watch someone so young who seemingly had a long life ahead of him have to understand that life isn’t going to happen. Most of the time I don’t let myself think about this because when I do, I cry hard and uncontrollably. Like I’m doing right now. I absolutely cannot fathom what it is like to be 19 and know your time is close to being up, and I cannot fathom being his parents or grandmother and have to watch this happen. It’s bad enough from my own vantage point.
I got to spend a bit of a day with him and most of the rest of that part of my family on the day after Thanksgiving, and for that I truly am grateful and thankful. Of course that thankfulness is tempered with the frustration and anger over what’s happening to him.
Sam is trying to temper the boredom that’s come with physically not being able to do anything by helping to organize a fundraiser for his foundation, SamStrong. The money he is raising will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, a place where he received treatment. You can read more about that here.
I haven’t wanted to talk about this much in my real life, and I still don’t want to. But I do want to ask that if you are reading this, if you can try to put some sort of positive karma into the world in honor of my cousin — whether it’s by praying to God or a higher being of your choice, donating to SamStrong or St. Jude or a charity of your choice or giving your time to others in a way today that means something — it would mean a lot to me. Not only has it been hard to watch Sam and my family go through this, it’s been hard to accept any sort of pain or suffering in the world in light of his illness. Any little thing you can do to make the world better would mean a lot to me.