Today I got a sweet note from my friend Stevie B. Yesterday 13 years ago, I introduced her to her husband at another friend’s wedding rehersal dinner. She made me get all schmoopy when she wrote:
….directly and indirectly you make people’s lives better on so many days and in so many ways. I love you. I am grateful to you and for you….Turn your face to the sun today and enjoy the warmth!
I don’t know that I deserve such accolades. I am just me. But when I think of the people who inspire me, one of those is my late brother-in-law, Keith Barket who died last December of peritoneal mesothelioma . He was one of the most amazing people I ever had the privilege to know and I still can’t find the words adequate enough to describe that.
When I think of my late brother-in-law, I think of this smart, handsome, caring and funny man who loved his friends and family. There was a genuine goodness about him that you just don’t see in people today. Having him in our lives was a blessing and a privilege.
Something I only told a couple of people when I first got my diagnosis for breast cancer, there were a couple of days where privately I really struggled. I was scared, and at moments in time, I am still scared today. But back then, only a few short months ago, I was sitting in my living room and my mind, well it was racing. Racing, racing, racing.
There is definitely an “oh my God what do I do?” stage when you are diagnosed with breast cancer. All of a sudden as clear as a bell, I heard his voice in my head (no cracks about hearing voices, please) saying “You’ll be o.k.” And all of a sudden, it was like I was calm and could think clearly. It was a very zen moment, and people might not believe I had this whole moment, but I did. And it made a world of difference.
And so far I am o.k.. And that is a very strange feeling. I am so lucky in my friends and family…and my family includes my sweet man. He is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my my life. Every day is a new gift, a new joy, and keeping the eye on that prize. But part of this is paying it forward.
So in addition to supporting the very amazing local non-profits in my area for breast cancer like BreastCancer.org and Living Beyond Breast Cancer , in this horrid economy, if you have any charitable giving that can be done consider also The Keith F. Barket Mesothelioma Research Fund at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)
Life and time march on. I keep paying it forward the best I can. I hope on some level it makes a difference.
The sun is shining. Go out and enjoy this beautiful November day when you can.
And Barbara? Happy Aniversary from one of your bridesmaids xoxo