Friday, October 17, 2008

The kindness of strangers and not-so-strangers

In case you hadn't heard Mandy talking about it lately (which could only mean you haven't actually talked to her, cause if you had, she would have told you) her birthday is next Thursday. She will be 8. She thinks this is some seriously cool news, people!

She got her first card and present in the mail today. The thing that made me tear up about this, it was from someone we didn't even know. She got a very sweet birthday card, a package of stickers and a $10 gift card to Target. She was absolutely thrilled!

Mandy has two chemo angels who truly watch over her and send her happy mail. She so looks forward to her goodies from Angel Toni and Angel Vicky. I have never met these two wonderful ladies who bring so much joy to my daughter. They mean the world to me. Though by strict definitions they are strangers -- we have never met, never shaken hands, never hugged -- they hold a piece of my heart forever.

Today's gifts came from another angel, a bonus birthday angel. Mandy was thrilled to get birthday happies in the mail. My heart was touched. The same day, she was excited to get some new-to-her clothes from a wonderful friend. Mandy loves new clothes almost as much as she loves mail. So, all in all, today was a great day to be Mandy.

I truly believe, in every journey, no matter what that journey is or how terrible it might be, there are blessings, if you are willing to look for them. Sometimes, you have to look harder than others, but they are always there. One of the blessings of this journey is being able to see the goodness in so many people. Our friends have stepped up in a way that I never could have imagined. We still have dinner brought to us every Wednesday after Mandy has chemo. It's been almost eight months and still, like clockwork, every Wednesday, dinner shows up, delivered by a loving, smiling, supportive friend. More friends than I can count have offered love, support, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.

I have prayed every day since her diagnosis. There have been numerous times when praying has been incredibly difficult for me. There have been numerous times that I have been very angry at God, and my prayers were one word, WHY? There have been numerous times that I have been grateful and thankful. There have been times when the prayer was pretty basic: "Please fix it." I couldn't itemize. I couldn't be specific.

And no, these prayers have not always been answered in the way I hoped they would be. The best example of this was when neuropathy set in. Mandy was struggling to walk very far without pain. I prayed that night for her to not be in pain. The next day, I mentioned the neuropathy to a friend I met through the Children's Cancer Center. Within hours I had offers of not one, not two, but three jogging strollers. Was this the way I wanted her to be able to get around without pain? No, it wasn't my first choice. But was it an answered prayer? You bet it was.

Seven and a half months ago, I prayed for her health. I prayed for strength for all of us. I prayed for the strength to be what I needed to be for her. I prayed for comfort and peace. Those prayers have been answered over and over again in the form of friends and family and strangers reaching out to her. To all of us. For each and every one of them, we are thankful and incredibly blessed.

Love to all~

No comments: