This past weekend David and I went up to the Bay Area for Adrienne’s Unveiling (thank you Greta and Chris for making us feel welcome in your home!). I had never been to an Unveiling before and did not know what to expect. In Jewish tradition it is customary that a year after a person’s death, when the mourning period is over, the grave marker is put in place. The mourners gather at the grave side for a short ceremony during which the grave stone, which has been shrouded, will be unveiled. Instead of flowers the the deceased’s loved ones place small rocks on the grave stone as a sign that they have visited the grave.
To say that seeing Adrienne’s name engraved in a head stone was strange would be an understatement of enormous proportion. I remember as a kid and young adult my mom and grandma used to go out once a month on a Saturday and look after the family graves. Often on those outings we came upon grave stones of a person who had passed way too young and wondered how their family was coping. A year ago we became “that family”. No one knows when their time is up but 22 is awfully young, even when this person has lived a fulfilled life. We wonder what life would have held in store for Adrienne, how her future would have unfolded. But we also remind ourselves that there are families who lose their children at much younger ages, children that never got a chance to live a life without disease, pain, medical procedures. Children too young to understand what is happening to them and why. We are grateful that Adrienne had nine healthy years where the doom of cancer did not overshadow every aspect of her life and are thankful that even though the cancer card was dealt to her shortly after her 9th birthday, we had her for another 13 years. 13 years that allowed us to make memories. A lot of parents do not get that chance.
Adrienne rarely complained about her illness and what it meant to deal with it on a daily basis for so long. She never put anything on hold and always had plans for the future. Whenever someone we knew through the cancer community passed away she considered herself lucky that she was still around and although she mourned the ones that were lost, she never let it depress her. Until the day she died she always felt confident that a cure would eventually be found for her if she could just hang on long enough. I have no doubt that the hope she had for eventually beating her lymphoma gave her the resilience to carry on and endure every and any treatment protocol that came her way, no matter how harsh and debilitating. She once told me that when you have a disease that threatens to take your life on a daily basis hope is really all you have to keep yourself going. The moment you lose hope you will succumb and let the illness win.
The day she died, one of her best friends from college said: “Oh, but Adrienne, you won!”
And yes, we all did just by having had her in our lives.
Today’s Running Tip: There will be no Running Tip today!