Some one once told me that if it were possible for everyone to put their individual struggles on a table and given the choice take whatever bundle they chose, everyone would inevitably leave with the one they had brought. Because we are all damaged and need of healing.
Many tears were shed Friday, May 16th when Nathalie Fenton’s brother Jerry was presented with her nursing pin. Ms. Fenton was set to graduate with multiple honors this May with her class, but died this April after 12 years fighting breast cancer. The reserved empty chair at Pinning was hers. Yet if I left you here with only this information, that would be only half the story. You see Ms. Fenton’s nursing career began after her diagnosis. Her struggle opened up her passion, leading her to earn her LPN and then on to working for her RN.
The next day, a quiet afternoon followed our busy morning at the Farmer’s Market at La Reine where we had held our health fair. Sitting by the water, somehow we touched upon what we had witnessed yesterday. The smiles and the tears. And slowly we began to speak about experiences that we had simply kept quiet about: frightening health scares, loved ones lost to disease and finally being able to say that last good-bye.
That night we took part in Relay for Life in Nathalie Fenton’s name.
When someone dies to cancer or any other form of illness, why do we say they lost their fight to that disease? The greatest lesson I have learned from those facing terminal or debilitating chronic illness is that everyone dies. When facing a terrifying diagnosis you can either be engulfed in fear or let go of that fear. It will be always be there trying to catch hold of you. No thought or action on your part can destroy it. But you can use it to challenge you and motivate you. It can teach you to run faster, fight harder and be ultimately more stubborn than you thought possible. The fight’s score is determined by how you live your life, not by the effects a disease has on it.