Andrew Whitlatch - Courtesy Laugh Network - May 24, 2011
Deep breath…now exhale…
Do you feel your lungs fill with oxygen? As you exhale, can you feel your body’s pressure release into the air? Or maybe it feels like you’re taking a yoga class in front of a computer screen. Did I just create the first ever literary yoga? That’s a hundred dollars please. In all seriousness, every breath we take is an incredible blessing. I’m not typically an overly sentimental guy but I try to be conscious and thankful for my health.
A wise pastor once said that the ability to feel normal is something we take for granted. Not feeling anything is the greatest feeling in the world. The only thought I have when I’m sick is feeling normal again. As a man in my early twenties with no history of disease or illness I realize how incredibly fortunate I am.
My aunt battled cancer for over a decade. She is and forever will be the greatest, most inspiring person I have ever known. Have you ever known someone so incredibly kind and selfless that you question if he/she is a real person? Their heart and spirit just pour out of them.
My aunt was that kind of lady.
I watched my mother collapse on the couch with tears streaming down her face. My dad held her as she wept hysterically in his arms. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer over a decade ago. I still remember standing in the living room when my mom received the call. I was just a kid in grade school.
Over ten years later the fight continued for my aunt. I went to college in Philadelphia at Temple University. Sophomore year, my aunt was transferred to a clinic in Philadelphia. It was right around Christmas time and the snow was falling.
I walked into her room in the hospital. She asked me how I was doing with school. I watched as doctors and nurses did their best to keep my aunt comfortable. I couldn’t believe how strong she was. She was like superman. She was the one in the hospital bed and she wanted to know how I was doing. I’m sorry but that just isn’t fathomable to me to know someone that caring. I am such a wimp when I’m sick. I feel bad for my girlfriend because she is the one who has to clean up the pieces. It’s really a pathetic scene over a little cold.
The following spring I received a call from my mother. The doctor’s said she only had a few more hours left and that people should start saying their goodbyes. There I was, on the phone, outside my college cafeteria. My heart started pounding as my eyes swelled with tears. What do you say to your hero in their final moments? I couldn’t even make it through what I wanted to say. I hung up the phone, took a moment to gather myself and went back inside. A few hours later my mom called to confirm that she died.
Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
One thing is for sure; my aunt was the greatest person I have ever known.