I’ve had something on my mind since visiting with a friend yesterday. You might wonder what this has to do with Living Small. It has everything to do with it. I grew up in a community that was tight. I guess being related to more than half the neighborhood may have precipitated that closeness, but still. . .
I remember several people in Small that were found to have cancer. That was a death sentence for sure back in the fifties an sixties. You got a diagnosis and some treatment, but at some point the doctors would just send them home and hoped for a peaceful, comfortable end as much as possible. No matter who it was, the neighborhood would prepare food for the family and sit with the sick one day and night until the passing. My mom and grand mother, like others would take a turn at spending the day or night with them. The person wasn’t given home nursing care or hospice care like today. Most people I knew didn’t have the money for paid caretakers to come in. Dr. Bonner was our local doctor in Aurora. He would make house calls. I suppose he might go visit the sick one, but mostly to check to see that they were comfortable as much as could be. One of those people was my step-grandfather’s first wife. She had brain cancer. She lingered for a while, but the house nor she was ever left without someone to clean, cook and take care of her and Jamie. It’s touching to think of it now. There’s no one that would do that now where I lived.
Fast forward to today. I worked with Tracy. She is the wife of my friend. She was always bubbly and ready to help with my computer woes back years ago. I was working in the business office when I met her and later went to work in the same department as she. Tracy taught me the finer points of computer fixes. Anyway, she was married to Jim, who was an active duty Marine at the time. He retired not long after I met him. They’ve been married for several years and made it through thick and thin, but this trial has a certain verdict and they are both taking this trial with determination and certainty that Jim is going to be alright at the end of all this suffering.
I walked into his room in Onslow Memorial Hospital and he looked at me like “wow”. He had seen someone he had not been expecting. We sat and talked for some time. I listened mostly. He’d tear up on occasion when he would describe the love he and Tracy had and the support of his family, although they live in Nebraska. He said he wasn’t going to leave this life till he had done what he was put here for and he trusted Jesus to take him only after he had accomplished his task. He seemed strong-willed and fighting this cancer that has all but overcome him. I felt touched by his fortitude to be a fighter, even at 104 pounds. I pray that God take note of this man and have mercy on him and let this Marine into His arms when the time comes.