I. Hate. Cancer. I want to scream and cry and hit things. But none of it will bring my cousin back.
I found out this morning that my cousin Joncille – my dad’s cousin, so my second cousin if you want to get technical – passed away. She gave in to stupid cancer. She has been suffering off and on for years, and, according to my uncle, didn’t want to fight any more. I was shocked.
I got to know Joncille when I visited her and her husband in Sugar Land, Texas, on my road trip. (You can read about it here: https://amysamerica.com/2010/11/09/finding-my-roots-on-day-61/) They welcomed me into their home with open arms and I couldn’t have felt more at home. It was like we were long lost friends. It was actually the beginning of a great friendship. Joncille was a wonderful support through my treatment. A constant cheerleader, encouraging me to remain positive, to trust in God and to know that I really would get past it all.
“I would like you to know, though, that this too will pass, and you will move through this hardship one day at a time and in the bright future it will seem like a bad dream,” Joncille wrote to me – and she was right. She sent me love, thoughts and prayers for strength, courage and healing. And they gave me strength and will to continue to plow through treatment.
“…grab hold of the positive things. Doing that will absolutely save your life and your sanity,” she wrote to me.
“From one who knows, bald ain’t too bad. One swish with a wet wash cloth and you have washed, dried and styled your hair and are ready for the day. And again, from one who knows, it grows back.” Yup, right again.
And when I found out I did, in fact, need radiation, Joncille gave me a new way to look at it: “I do want to warn you that when you first see the tattoo that marks the spot to radiate, you will feel that you have been marked as a CANCER VICTIM, but YOU ARE NOT!!!! They are marking a survivor. I knew a radiologist many years ago that envisioned the power of the Holy Spirit entering her patients as she applied the radiation. I held that vision in my mind when receiving mine. I promise that there is a life after cancer. It just seems like a never ending saga right now. Hang in one treatment at a time and before you know it they will all be over.” I adopted that vision from Joncille, and it was such a comfort…
I feel robbed. It’s not fair. We didn’t get enough time together. I want to hear more of her stories. I want to take her up on her offer to return to Sugar Land with my Aunt Patsy, who was one of her best friends. Joncille and Aunt Patsy remind me of Tara and me, cousins, confidantes, travel buddies and dear friends… and that just makes it all hit home even more.
No, life is not fair. I guess we all know that by now. And life is short. So don’t waste it. Spend time with the people you care about. Tell them that you love them. Be a real friend. Cherish the time you have. You don’t know when it will end.