Ray Of Hope

Nicole came through town again today. She was on her was back from a visit up north to see her son and then was heading immediately back down south for what is ongoing treatment at this point in her life. I had met her once and she left quite the impression on me, after today, she has left an impact on my heart and mind that is overflowing with emotion but one that will last a lifetime.  

Nicole is “family”. I have an extremely large family and often members get “lost” sadly. Thankfully there are times when other members of the family bring us together, even just briefly, and for a time life stands still. You are reminded of life lessons (even if they are hard and sometimes they are not easy to hear).  This is one of those that I would NOT have exchanged for anything else. Some just are important gifts to someone who struggles with so much inside themselves. Without even knowing this, this young woman has literally altered my own perspective, just by her own.  

Nicole is a 21-year-old woman who has led a very difficult life. There has not been at one point where she was not on the battle field in one way or another. I have been there as well, but I have essentially given up long ago, and this woman has not even started to become defeated after being brought to her knees so many times.  

Nicole has seen the drugs, beatings, all different kinds of abuse from all angles. The abandonment was real and still is to this day. It came from too many people and the affects did permanent damage like it would to any of us. It continued into a difficult marriage. She was blessed with a child with more challenges and now faces the greatest confrontation yet standing before her. 

At the age of 21, Nicole has terminal brain cancer. At this point and it appears it will never be operable. It lays in the center of her brain and continues to branch out like a tree. She can have chemo and radiation to try and shrink it, but at this point there is nothing else. Her motor skills and cognitive skills have obviously been affected. On a daily basis Nicole faces the threat of multiple seizures. Treatment is never-ending. 

Nicole has chosen not to get a prognosis of how long she has left. She does not want a time-table. She also did not want my pity nor anyone else’s. She is STRONG! Not weak. I would be gone, empty, desolate, and given up long ago. Hell, I have just with what I have.  You look at people like this in amazement and wonder – HOW? Admiration! Tears! I’d never say this to her, but I’d gladly take her place without a second thought just to give her more time. Leaves me questioning why these life’s tragedies even happen at all? And when they do…why to people that have already been through so much? And then…why is it already the young – or our younger kids?  

Speaking with her doesn’t make me NOT totally question giving up ever again. But Nicole has certain changed the way I look and address just my thoughts. I cry for her endless times today. And I think about all of us who suffer from anything and Nicole makes me want to be just a little bit like her. Have a tiny bit of her courage. The willingness not to give up! I know I am weak, but what even I could have a small trace of her fight? What if we all could?  


“Life is pain, Life is not fair” 

Julie Brennan 

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