Last night, we attended the Rural Cass Relay for Life. It was held at our school, and Cameron (my husband) was on the committee. When they had the event last year, I still had a broken foot and was sore from surgery. We stayed all night though, and it was a moving experience. This year was different but still good. We went from 5-11 and had games, BINGO and a movie. The track was being worked on so we had a different “path” to set up the luminaries.
If you’ve not been to a Relay event before, they sell luminaries that people dedicate to loved ones, friends, family etc who have gone through cancer. They light them at sunset and it’s a pretty moving event. Last year was my first Relay for Life and I was also considered a survivor. I hadn’t been to one before cancer, so I can’t compare. This year, Myles (our youngest) decorated the luminaries. He did one for me, his grandma, great grandma, 4 great aunts & 3 friends. I knew that I would see them lit up and he’d have to show me the ones he made. When they are glowing, it just takes on a whole new meaning. What I wasn’t prepared for was to see my name written by people I didn’t know. They let the kids at school decorate some because of all of the money they had raised for the Northern Cass team. As I walked along, looking at the names, I saw “Mrs. Free, Mrs. Freuh and Mavis” on more than just Myles’. It made me teary to know that other kids had thought of me, to write my name down. (Maybe because of my husband or my boys – in support of them also) They wrote my name, the names of 2 staff members who were also survivors, and my neighbor friend (Angie) among others. I’m so thankful that the school let them do this.
Cancer is scary. It’s scary when you are an adult, but it’s super scary when you are a kid and your mom (or anyone close to you) goes through cancer. Whispering about it makes it scarier. Talking openly about it and letting them see people who have survived makes it a little less scary. I’ll never forget when Angie was going through chemo and had lost her hair. She stopped at school during lunch time. Myles said some of the kids at his table were wondering what happened. He matter-of-factly said, “She has breast cancer like my mom, but she has different medicine that makes her lose her hair. It’s ok though. She’s still the same person and her hair will grow back.” And that was it. Just that simple in his mind. And it maybe made it less scary.
As I saw the names on the luminaries of a teacher who had offered to talk to our boys and answered questions that they had, my heart was full. She didn’t have to offer that to them – 6th grade boys (at the time) might not want to talk about that stuff. They certainly wouldn’t let their moms or aunts know that they were worried. I’m forever thankful for the staff at the school who looked out for our boys that year. I know that they cared for them as if they were their own kids, understanding their fears and helping them through some scary times. They let their light shine.
Sometimes I wish I could shelter my boys from things like cancer, but I know it’s not possible. I also know that it’s not in their best interest. It’s good for them to know that I’m not immortal. It’s good for them to learn to show compassion towards others. It’s good for them to see the good that can come out of something scary. I hope they let their light shine.
Matthew 5:16King James Version (KJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I hope you take the time to let your light shine.