I have been to several American Cancer Society Relay for Life events here and in South Carolina.
I have seen the luminaries set up each year and listened as each name was called but this year it was different for me.
The major difference was the survivor stories that Missy and I had to write for the special tab that was in the previous paper.
As I listened to each interview and each person tell me about her experience I was struck with how real death was for these people.
Just the word cancer was enough for each of them to take a step back and think about the afterlife.
The recent loss of my son did not help with my feelings of despair as I wrote the stories in which death could be a very real possibility.
It seemed every story that I wrote was somehow in a different stage of the cancer and some were very uncertain as to the treatment but all were optimistic.
I can not imagine being given a diagnosis that would mean I would leave the ones I love behind but I do hope I would have a positive attitude like everyone of the survivors I interviewed.
But it all really made me think and wondering about what happens when we die.
I am saved and I truly believe in God and Heaven and all God has promised in the Bible but the human part of me just wonders a little.
With my son, I know he is in Heaven because he was saved and he had so much faith and my faith helps me to believe he is better off.
But the mom in me would give anything if God would open up Heaven for just a second and let my boy wink down at me and tell me, “It’s all good.”
I would not have to see what Heaven was like, just that he is ok.
When I stood on the football field and looked at all the white bags that said “In memory of” I was struck by how many lives that cancer has claimed and affected.
I wondered how many of the hundreds and hundreds of people that surrounded the football field during the survivor and caretaker walks have had that wish to see just for a second that someone who has lost the battle with cancer could just say, “hey I am fine.”
What is death really like? What is the whole point of life? You are born and live a while and then leave this earth again.
So many of these thoughts went through my head during the many walks around the track that I made.
As I looked at each campsite filled with people and food and fun games for the kids to play, I wondered how many of those people were there because their family had been touched by cancer and how it might have been touched.
For one town to raise $115,000 to help find a cure really shows how important the illness and death that comes from cancer is to so many people in Grayson County.
There are so many different kinds of cancer and so many different ways that it might affect you.
I spoke to one lady who had recently lost an eye to cancer and was wearing a glass eye.
Then as I was walking around an older man stopped me and asked me if I knew that I was taking a picture of a husband and wife that were both survivors.
They both then told me their stories and how long ago it was that they were diagnosed.
I was impressed with their story and how they both wore the purple shirt that told us they were survivors.
I wondered if when the doctor said the word cancer to each of them they had thoughts of the afterlife or they immediately thought “I am going to beat this thing.”
The only two people in my life that have died from anything but old age were my son and my father. They both died in accidents that took their lives rather quickly.
I have never had to watch a member of my family suffer through the chemo and radiation treatments and I will say I hope I never have to.
But after writing the stories about the different survivors who have been dealing with the cancer at different levels I hope that If I ever have to deal with it my outlook is as positive as each of theirs are.
I am glad that we get the opportunity to cover the positive event that touches so many lives and I get to hear how people do survive even when the doctors say there is no hope.