The older I get, the more I have learned that the word family doesn't necessarily ONLY include people that you are blood related/marriage related to. I have learned that there are people we come across in our life, whether by chance or by choice, that wind up becoming a part of that special group of people that you hold in your heart. I am blessed to have quite a few of those people in my life.
I of course have my fellow D-Mom's and Dad's that I carry with me in my heart. They get it. They understand this life and this battle. I met them because of an awful thing that occured to us. Had it not been for diabetes, I would have never been graced with their presence....never had the opportunity to know exactly what it means to fully and completely understand and love someone that only resides inside your computer.
I have dear friends that I have met in my life that I met simply because of random occurances in my life...such as a place I have visited...or a place I lived...or a place I worked..or went to school. They all are with me every single day and I draw strength from the knowledge that they care about me and support me.
I found out some news yesterday that broke my heart. The neighbour that lives across the street from me was just diagnosed with brain cancer. This man has been a fixture in my life every day for the past almost 12 years. He is retired and his pride and joy has always been his yard. He has beautiful flowers and trees and plants growing all over, a couple of coy ponds, one of which has a lovely and serene waterfall flowing into it. Nearly all of my memories of him are outside. I remember sitting on my front porch enjoying coffee first thing in the morning and saying hello to him as he watered his flowers. I remember standing in my driveway in the beginning of February...bitter cold and snow everywhere...with my big pregnant belly...chatting with him as he brought his garbage to the curb. I remember playing in the front yard with a 2 year old Emma...her hair in short little pigtails sticking out from the side of her head...waving her chubby little arms in the air and shouting across the road, "HIIIIIIIIII TOMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!" at him and seeing him burst into laughter as he shouted hello back to her. I remember walking over to his yard with Emma's tiny hand in mine and chatting with him as Emma marveled at the fact that he had fishies swimming around in his yard. I remember him looking at me with tears in his eyes and hearing his voice crack as he told me how sorry he was to hear that Emma was diagnosed with diabetes, but that he knew she would be fine because she is a tough girl and nothing will stop her in life...she will never let any grass grow under her feet. I remember him always being the first one to want to donate to her JDRF Walks...to support her hot chocolate sale fundraisers...to help her in any way he could...monetarily or otherwise.
He is one of those truly unique and special people in this world that are hard to find. If you happen to discover one in your life, consider yourself blessed. He is good to the core. He is a good soul...has an honestly kind soul...he never would ask for help...and yet he was always the first to offer help. He is a good man. My heart breaks for him and I can't imagine living here knowing that when I go outside or back out of the driveway....that he won't be there...watering his flowers or cutting his grass...getting his mail...bringing his garbage out....shoveling snow. I can't imagine it. It won't feel right. I type this with tears in my eyes because I don't even know if he really has any idea how much he means to me and my daughter. I don't even know if he realizes that he has been more like a grandfather figure to her than I could have ever hoped for. I don't know if he knows how comforting his presence out there in his yard was to me. To know that I could always count on him being out there...making his little corner of the world a little more beautiful.
So, here I sit.....sad....and feeling guilty for wanting him to remain here...because I don't want him to have to live his remaining years in pain...or confused...or disoriented because of the tumors growing inside him. I feel guilty because I want him to remain here....and in my head I tell myself, he's not even my "real family"....he's simply a man I met because I moved here in this house. But in my heart, I feel it...and I know that he is a part of my family...he is one of those special people that I hold in my heart....and this hurts....even though I know it may sound silly because I am sure it hurts his family and his wife a million times more......but it still hurts nonetheless.
I hate cancer.