I wrote this December of 2014 while I was staying with my good friend, employee Joanne. She passed away just 5 months after I was there and she came home. The lessons I learned from that journey with her still are with me. - Sherry
Each night as I call home, it gets harder and harder to hold it together. How do I even begin to explain what my journey has been like this week as I step in as a "fill in" caregiver for my friend, employee, and hero Joanne? I came here thinking that I was going to be just a caregiver, which for me comes very easy. Make sure she eats, sleeps, takes her meds, and makes it to each of her appointments. I have been doing this for the kids their whole life, so how hard can this be? Well...... this journey has been not only emotionally hard but inspiring, and eye opening as well.
I dont even know how to put into words the emotions I have felt since I have been here at Hope Lodge. It truly has a whole new meaning of what this place is. Hope Lodge, I believed, was just a little house that you got to stay in when you traveled out of town for cancer treatments. Boy was I wrong. This house is so much more than that. Hope Lodge is not just a house, it is a home full of hope for so many people. From the first day I got here, I felt it immediately. I felt like I was walking with Angels who had lessons and stories they needed to tell me to fill my soul. I came here thinking I was the one who was going to care for them but it has ended up being the opposite, they are helping me grow as a person and providing me with gifts of knowledge.
I guess when you are faced with a diagnosis where doctors give you a year to live or even just two weeks, you look at life differently. How could you not? Where you see things as just an annoyance when you are well, and you wish to be part of it again now that your sick. One of the first couples I met were only here for 3 days. She has leukemia and had been cured once before but it has come back with a vengeance. She traveled here to have a bone marrow biopsy to see if she could survive a transplant. She had the biopsy done yesterday and she came back and sat down with me to share a gift. She told me how she has always loved planting flowers. She loved to watch them grow and see how beautiful they were. She hated when the weeds started taking over the beds and making the beds not look so beautiful any more. You know what she wished for? She wished she could get outside to just pick the weeds. The job she did not love doing, the job she took for granted, was the job that she missed the most. Picking those weeds in the spring when the sunshine started to warm the earth for the new flowers to grow. Why do we not look at weeds and hold them dear to us? Why do we just look at them as a nuisance? Each and everything that God has given us, has a purpose. She knows that she will not be able to put her hands in the dirt any more in this lifetime due to the risk it puts her under. For this makes her sad that she did not appreciate even the time it took to pick the weeds. Gift 1: Remember to embrace even the little things you have to do, even though some of them might not be so much fun at the time. When these things are taken away from you, you will miss them the most.