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Thread: The Envelope
12-13-06, 11:40 AM #1
This summer, I lost a very dear family member to breast cancer. In the past two weeks, I've had one close friend diagnosed with breast cancer, and another going in for a biopsy (sp?) in a few days.
One never knows the time they will have on this earth...and perhaps the greatest tribute, is what we leave behind. For some reason, this story touched me deeply. It made me think...it made me cry...it made me smile...it made me want to share the message with others.
SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE
It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And, as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.
That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always. God Bless! -- pass this along to those friends and loved ones who you know are the givers who understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Last edited by phoenixrose; 12-13-06 at 11:58 AM.
12-13-06, 11:53 AM #2
Thanks for that, you are right, one will never know..I supposedly have ovarain cancer after ongoing problems for over a year + and more testing over the past couple of months. I just found out my official results about 6 weeks ago. I am basically refusing treatment because my mind is stronger than ever before and I am so not in a position to go through treatment, nor do I have any interest in it.
12-13-06, 11:57 AM #3
OFK...I am so sorry to hear that.
You will be in my thoughts and prayers, especially this holiday
As in my signature poem, I strongly believe the hottest fire produces the strongest steel. This is your 'fire'. Stand strong...take care of YOU. Everything else is secondary.
If you need to talk...PM me. I will send you my email and phone number. Take care of yourself.
Last edited by phoenixrose; 12-13-06 at 12:00 PM.
12-13-06, 12:11 PM #4
12-13-06, 12:26 PM #5
YOU are worth it.
If you don't trust the results...GET ANOTHER OPINION.
Don't f**k with your health. Trust me on this one. Treat it as valid until proven otherwise. Ovarian cancer can be very aggressive. If the diagnosis is correct, you may have caught it early, and that is GOOD. Don't wait.
This is just my opinion, OFK.
But I want you to be healthy and safe...and I have a feeling that YOU need to know that as well. I think you are much like me. You don't want to make a big deal out of it....so you shake it off as inconsequential. Inside, however, (subconsciously perhaps), you worry.
Often, it is hard to talk about concerns with friends and family, because they tend to freak out on you. And, you don't want to worry them. Keep in mind, I am here...anytime...day or night...just a phone call away if you need someone to talk to.
12-13-06, 12:39 PM #6
12-13-06, 01:31 PM #7
Thats a wonderful post P.R. I'm glad you posted it. Cancer affects everyone, when my wife and I were in college they thought she had Breast Cancer and she was 21, luckily after 6 months of waiting and lots of tests,biopsies the results can back and she was free and clear,none the less it was a stressful time. I'm sorry for the loss of husband it's always upsetting to a see a young man robbed of the rest of his life. Anyway, thanks for posting that and have a merry christmas.Giggity giggity Goo!
Glen Quagmire,Family Guy, Pick any Episode
12-13-06, 02:33 PM #8
I'm glad your wife is okay now.
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