Tag Archives: charity

The Facets of Charity

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I’ve been thinking about charity lately, probably because we have been the recipient of a good dose of it in various forms. On top of that I’m currently reading The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness by Mark Ian Barasch and chapter three ends with some lovely thoughts about charity. To me, charity has several facets which make it shine brilliantly.

Charity is definitely about giving to those in need and we have certainly been in need and received much! All those who donated money to us at the Brian D. Lawson Benefit Rally showed incredible generosity and have helped make it possible for me to care for Brian in the way that would not have been possible otherwise. Hope Hospice and Agape Hospice have provided for every medical need without cost to us. I cannot fathom what the cost is for doctors, nurses, a hospital bed, oxygen, medical supplies, and medications required to keep Brian comfortable. Charity of this kind is obviously appreciated and I’ll be saying my thank yous for years to come.

That feeling you get toward someone in need or a person who is suffering in some way is another form of charity. We see the tears in the eyes of those who visit. We hear the shaky voices that attempt to hold back emotion. We read the words of love and encouragement from those we have never met and those we love so dearly. Charity of this kind is not tangible, can’t be put on a shelf or tucked away in a box. However, it is very real and we feel it deeply. It makes it easier to go through each day and it has incredible and lasting value.

I’m not sure if, prior to this experience, I would have thought of charity in this final way: looking at others with understanding and tolerance. I’ve looked at people and situations and rolled my eyes in judgment, wondering why others can’t be more like me. I’ve been critical of other wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. Now I have a much more lenient and patient way of thinking. I still have my opinions, of course, but I’m starting to look at experiences through new lenses. I’m attempting to see new points of view and walk that mile in someone else’s shoes. My favorite book of all time is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch is a character I love and admire. One of the famous quotes from that beautiful tale rings true: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That, my friends, is charity, and…

Charity = Joy

Alexander Days & Drink Refills

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When I was a kid I loved to read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I am, for the most part, an optimist who sees cups as half full. But some days are Alexander days. Today has been one of those.

Brian has been having morning and evening sickness. It’s frustrating and painful for him. he has three medications that help with nausea but they may or may not be working. It’s just hard to know sometimes. Today he has not gotten sick, but has felt pretty crappy (sometimes a poetic word doesn’t cut it). It’s no fun to see him feel like this and not be able to do something about it.

Cancer is pretty rotten. Between the cancer itself and the plethora of drugs required to maintain some level of comfort, it’s difficult to know what causes soem of the icky-ness. For years Brian consumed about a gallon of water a day. Now water tastes bad. Food tastes different. His sense of smell is strangely acute. His stomach has a mind of its own. Pain shifts from day to day. Everything is just so different from the norm. Yes, cancer definitely sucks!

Things didn’t seem in my favor when I got a nail in my tire on the way to U-Haul to get boxes and packing supplies. Of course the repair kit was at home! Ugh!!

So I felt a little Alexander-ish today… The cup looked a little less than half-full.

But then I looked again and realized it was just a trick. Maybe bad lighting because…

I stopped for gas to check the tire, and there was a service station next to it with three really bored techs who had my tire fixed in a jiffy. Brian’s parents sent a care package filled with goodies and sweet notes written by the kindergarten kids his mom assists every week. We had a friend come over for a nice visit with a yummy lunch, movies, and an air bed so my parents can sleep on more than the floor this week! Other friends came by later and they have worked so hard on the MINI benefit rally. We had a good time talking and they filled us in on what so many people are doing, even people who don’t know us. Finally, a friend texted asking if we wanted pizza. Well, I’m not stupid, so of course I said yes. She stayed and some with us before heading back to her place. And now Brian and I are playing footsie on the couch and I caught a smile on his face, despite the pain he’s feeling.

When the cup appears half-empty, be sure to check the lighting. It could be a trick! And if that doesn’t work, just think some good thoughts and count some of your blessings. It fills the cup right up!

Thanks a Bunch

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What a day! We accomplished tons o’ stuff in record time.

First, a huge thanks goes to Lance and Noelle who are selling most of our furniture this weekend. Lance showed up with his jug of water, enthusiasm, and a trailer. He, along with Chad (Brian’s brother) and the kids, got all our furniture moved in less than two hours. Huge hugs to them for making life easier and taking a literal load of stuff off my mind.

Brian spent a lot of time yesterday and today coordinating details of trading in our cars. Yay for iPhones, iPads, and strong wi-fi signals. Thank you to the guys at MINI and Honda of Fort Myers for making it as smooth and quick as possible. Their kindness and compassion did not go unnoticed.

I need to thank Alison for taking care of us on the legal end of things. Here is my mini lecture: if your wishes are not in writing, take care of that now. We are 37 and should have done that years ago, but like so many people, we put it on the back burner because there will always be time to do that later. Excuse me while I step off my soapbox… Okay, back to Alison. she is not only a good attorney, but a genuinely gracious lady and sweet friend. Some tasks are emotionally difficult, but Alison makes them easier.

Brian had another good day with further adjustment to his medication. He’s sporting a new 100mcg Fentanyl patch and that seems to be the key right now, allowing him to go a little less frequently between doses of Dilaudid. We may go home on Monday, however we can really only take this one day at a time. No one wants to know dates and times for all our next steps more than Brian and I, but we simply have to take things slow and steady.

When life screeches to a halt and your world goes topsy-turvy, you appreciate some of the little things in life a bit more: Dairy Queen Blizzards, Downtown House of Pizza, dark chocolate, cozy socks, smiles from strangers as well as loved ones, and sock monkeys.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Much progress was made today. Brian had a pretty “cloudy” day yesterday due to medication affecting his head in addition to the pain. He felt very sleepy and had trouble conversing. Making some adjustments to his pain patch and switching from Oxycodone back to Dilaudid made a big difference. While the pain never goes away, it goes down to a manageable level that he is comfortable with. His appetite has greatly improved, though still not what we would call normal for him. As I’m writing this he is sleeping soundly.

We have had many people come by to visit and it means so much to us. Messages continue to pour in from all over the country. The outpouring of love and encouragement has been almost overwhelming at times.

Details are coming together for our upcoming move. I asked some friends if they would be willing to have a garage sale for us, because living in an 11th-floor condo isn’t ideal for that! As it turns out, they had a yard sale already scheduled for this weekend, so we will be able to take most of our large pieces of furniture to their house. We have so many offers for help that it will be difficult to find things for everyone to do! I knew we had good friends and people who cared, but I honestly did not expect this. I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately express my gratitude.

Brain’s attitude remains positive and he is handling all of this better than anyone else, which doesn’t surprise me. He is very much at peace with what is happening and plans to make the best of every day. And, really, that’s what each of us should do. It’s Valentine’s Day, so I send my love out to all of you who are reading this. Surround yourselves with people you love and don’t let too much time go by without letting them know how special they are to you.