Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What If, The April Edition

+I've been thinking a lot about my family lately. My mother and father and brother.  I've been thinking about how crazy my parents were for each other. If there were seasons in their marriage that they weren't head over heels mad about each other, then I never knew it.  From the sparkle in Dad's eyes when he looked at her, to the giggle in her voice when he was in the room, not a day went by that I didn't think our family was what "happily ever after" meant.

And happy we were. Even during some of our greatest disappointments, we knew how to laugh. And if we couldn't laugh, we had each other.  One day, I had come home from school, long in the face because I didn't get the part I wanted in the high school play.  I plopped down next to my dad at the kitchen table with a heavy sigh, too self absorbed to notice his own heavy heart. He asked me how my day was, and I explained to him that I thought I deserved a better part in the play. 

I asked him how his day was, and he started to well up when he told me that one of "the kids" had passed away that day. He was a dentist for the State Hospital and that's how he referred to some of the residents. He told me how she would never be able to sing or dance or act in a school play; but she was happy and didn't know she had limitations.  He didn't need to say any more. We just sat together in silence with our little tears.

The day he passed away, my brothers and I were at his side, my mother was stroking his hair. I knew as he was drawing his last breath, that I'd have a hole in my heart for the rest of my days. But that wasn't even the worst part. The part that crushes me still is the look I saw on my mother's face as she tried to utter the last prayer for the love of her life.

My father died of cancer in October of 1995.

This year, my brother Ben is raising money for the American Cancer Society.  He's doing his part to give other families a chance at their Happily Ever After story. He's been growing his hair out since November to raise awareness. How can growing your hair out raise awareness? Well, if you're me, not much. But if you're Benny, well, there's not a lot you're aware of other than his hair...except maybe those eyebrows.  He sent me this picture tonight and I hardly noticed the surf board.

"Nikki, I'm a well versed man. With hair like this, I can't afford not to be."  - Ben Hunter

In three weeks, on May 12th, my mother will do the honorary first shave of his head. After seeing her son like this, I am sure it will give her great pleasure to lop off those locks. If you'd like to be part of this, you can donate through this link:

You don't have to donate money. But my What If question tonight is this: What if we all did something?

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