Carol and her dear husband Jim, who passed away in 2012. I
discovered Carol's identity through Jim's obituary, which I found
when I surveyed public records to see if my original mother had
passed away. Life indeed works in mysterious ways.
Carol prepared a lovely lunch -- split pea soup and homemade chicken salad, as well as an assortment of other salads and dessert. I was so touched by all her efforts, and by the fact that Jo and her husband went so out of their way to spend time with us. We spent the afternoon talking, sharing family stories, and playing a charade-like game called Catch a Phrase. We have spent four whole days together now, with countless messages and e-mails flowing back and forth in between visits. It seems that we have known each other so much longer. Carol and Jo feel like such a part of our family now, to both me and Ty, and once again, I wonder why I am so blessed to have found these two dear souls.
As I continue to battle metastatic melanoma, I try to focus more on my blessings and my day-to-day life than my prognosis. Meeting and getting to know Carol and Jo has certainly been a gift, one that has brought me so much love, peace and closure. Carol unfortunately knows first hand the challenge of fighting a life-threatening disease, as she lost her dear husband Jim to brain cancer in 2012. She has a knack for saying all the right things to me, and one comment in particular stays with me: "Susan," she said, "Love will see you through."
She is so right! We find out at times like this that love is all that matters, and I have been fortunate to find it in many places. I had adoptive parents, and I have an adoptive brother, all who have loved me with all their hearts. My husband is my best friend and the love of my life. As soon as I became sick from my treatments, he arranged to work from home, and he is always here with and for me.
Two of the loves of my life -- my youngest grandchild Joseph and my husband Ty
We are blessed with two daughters, their husbands who we love like sons, and six beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from three to nine. One of my daughters is a doctor, so she is able to stay on top of my treatments and provide extra medical support. My other daughter is a teacher at Masterman High School in Philadelphia. One or the other always accompanies me and Ty to treatments. Both live nearby and check in daily, with frequent visits from the grandkids, who thankfully force us to live in the moment, whether we want to or not!
Joseph with his cousin Ty -- they are best buddies!
Grandchildren and cousins -- Genevieve and Eddie. Can you tell how much they love each other?
The older grandchildren, Emma and Grace. How lucky are we, and how lucky are they?
I have one dear friend who gives me massages twice a week, another who comes to the house to cut my hair. My daughter very ably administered my last hair color treatment! Another long-time friend crafted me an exquisite quilt. Other friends get me out to the movies, for short walks, and for discussions about books. (I love to read!)
I don't want to mislead you here. I am not at all happy that I have stage 4 melanoma. I would like very much to live for another 20 years, as I love my life and all the people in it. But I also know that I have been blessed in many ways and that I am surrounded by a love that sustains me day by day. And as Carol so wisely said, no matter what happens, that love will see me through.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you, that would suffice."