I grew up poor, not in the no money for food way, but in the every penny was accounted for way. We always had what was needed and planned and saved for what was wanted. The house we lived in had space heaters, but no heat in the bedrooms. I also spent many nights at my grandmother's house with the same kind of heat.
Winter nights were interesting. Back up to the heater to get warm, run to the bed, crawl in the covers and be really still once you got your spot warm. Those covers were not fancy bedspreads with matching sheets, they were basic sheets with handmade quilts and afghans. Those handmade things had weight to them, substance. That feeling stays with me today.
CANCER - what an ugly word. It hangs in the air almost like you can see it. It echoes off the wall - that phrase was from the Man at my Address. It temporarily sucks the breath out of you, especially if it comes as unexpectedly as this did. I went in for a kidney stone - I came out a statistical freak. A second primary cancer. Not everyone gets this priviledge of two completely unrelated occurances.
I called a few friends. I facebooked the series of events. I spoke with my pastor. I turned to my natural weapon - sarcastic humour. I refuse to bow down to it.
Here is where I want the special to come in.
As quick as word hit the the streets and the internet - people responded. People near to me. People far away. Friends, family, total strangers. Churches all over the world prayed for me. The support, the encouragement, the love, the prayers, the blanket of healing fell over me. Almost as if it was tangible. Like I could reach for it and wrap it around me. Like those quilts handmade by my grandmother and mama, on a cold winter night.
I was warm. I was comfortable. I was loved. And in those moments of weakness and darkness my support network became my strength and my light. Not just mine either, my entire family. In the good moments that occured, this blanket of support celebrated. When the fear or pain won the battle and I felt sorry for myself, this blanket wrapped tighter and reassured me that I was not alone.
I'm starting here with recognizing two friends - and so many more for an unexpected act - that still amazes me. MaryAnn and Jen immediately set to work putting together this. Their friends and some of mine are contributing. Overwhelmed does not begin to describe the feelings I have. I do not quite know what to say - except thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you. I have never met either of those ladies face to face, but they both are among the friends I am closest to. The contributors are amazing as well, and the donors too. I wish I could see and hug and thank each one personally, it truely means so much. Again a corner of that blanket that I can pull around me.
My work team at my grown up girl job - has rocked. Being out for some three weeks and no major crisis to come back to.
Melissa - we have been friends for many years now. Our Girls are friends. She has organized food and has called and checked and made sure that I'm ok. A true angel and one day, I might actually grow up and be like her.
Becky - I really don't have words here either. She stayed with my family at the hospital during surgery. She and her husband brought food and encouragement. A text or a phone call. Took the softball princess to her prom dress fitting when I couldn't. And I know that I can call her anytime.
Jones Chapel UMC - they are my extended family. Susan, our pastor, was right there, praying and loving and building the family up. I know that Donald Sartain wore that bandaid with my initials on it. Veronica Reno - called and visited and checked. And the food - nobody goes hungry physically or spiritually in this church.
MCHS, SMACK, and FURY SOFTBALL - who knew when those girls were playing t-ball just how important we all would be to one another. Thank you thank you thank you.
Family - near and far. the distance doesn't separate the heart does it. I love you all so much.
Ellen - email after email of beautiful words. To build me up. My family up. Time taken to care for a virtual stranger. Awe inspiring.
Local Best Friend - hospital visits, home visits, laughter, love, the knowledge that no matter what - you are there - amazes me. Even though you think my hair looks like a frazzled chickens ass. To think that night that I listened to your story would come to the kind of relationship we have - never in a million years. Thank you - and you know I love you too.
Sam's Mom - Jennifer - an unlikely series of events brought us together, but look what we gained. Thank you for everything - for understanding the bad jokes, for contributing to the raffle, for chocolate and even a book I can destroy in the name of art.
JulieAnn - a blog buddy who decided to come stay with me a week after my surgery. I am so glad you did. I enjoyed getting to know you a little better. The poca girl loved you. My mama loved you. I'm looking forward to spending more time with you.
Facebook - Texts - emails - phone calls - blog comments. Read them all - printed most of them - keeping them. Visits - flowers - food - cards - notes. It all mattered. It all still matters.
See that blanket. The squares were made by someone else. I put them together and added material from my stash. I finished this in the doctors office on Tuesday. I have said prayer after prayer of thanksgiving for all of you while I crocheted on this. Thousands of stitches - thousands of prayers - blessings counted. It's colorful - like my cast of characters.
I'm sending this with our mission team to Mexico at the end of this month. I hope that somehow, the blessings in my life (that would be all of you) will somehow spill out for the person who receives this.
I am covered with a tangible prayer blanket. It is beautiful. It is real. It sustained me. I contines to sustain me.
I needed all of you - I thank you so much for responding when I was in need. You have blessed me so much. I will never forget. The smallest of actions - even the prayers lifted I do not know about - they all were there. Woven into the threads of my support blanket. I have it wrapped around me now.
Love you --- Teresa