I came into the hospital in Murray for another round of chemo on Thursday night, July 15th. I was hoping to see some familiar faces. Sure enough right when we turned the corner off the elevator of the 9th floor, my dad and I started catching smiles and hellos from nurses who had worked with me before. I got settled in my room and started putting things away how I liked them. Some of the comforts of home I’ve been bringing are pillows and 3-5 gallons of Payson or Provo water. Hey, it’s just what I like!
Something I enjoy doing to pass the time is taking walks. Typically it is my crutches and I, and Leslie with the IV tower, around the patient’s floor. On Sunday we made some new friends, albeit not in the best of circumstances. We met Fia and her family who are from American Samoa. The love they seemed to have for one another was deep. She shared some things about their extended family and why they were there that day. Her cousin had just been taken off of life support, battling stomach cancer, and they were all there to support one another, show their love, and say their final goodbyes.
Fia’s family filled up the hallways and all day long children could be heard. If I had to make a logical guess, I would say that there were about four or five generations of family members in attendance; maybe 40-50 people.
The hallways and bedroom of this woman were brimming over with her loved ones. Much to my surprise, there was not a lot of chaos. I did pass people who were showing teary eyes and looks of contemplation. But I saw more around who were laughing, smiling and seemed to be telling stories. Fia was the one who initially stopped us in the hallway to say hello. She asked about my condition and wanted to know my story. We talked about how their family members came over to the states after joining the LDS church. She also humorously told us about her niece going against their culture by playing water polo instead of joining the rugby team. She said their entire family was very supportive of her anyway, taking up half the bleachers at every single game.
In looking back today, the walk provided me with two things; exercise and reflection. I walked right into an opportunity to meet someone new and find out a little more about their history and how much they value their family. It was great to see those values and feel how united they were.
It is unfortunate that not all walks in life will end the way we want them too, such as for Fia’s cousin. But it would appear their family took important strides to remain together and be together for one another, so that this woman would not have to make her final walk alone. I thought it was touching and it gave me a lot to think about as I took my walk back to my room on the 9th floor. Things can suddenly take on a whole new meaning. My fluffy pillows from home, which I brought to the hospital, became less significant. The love I have for my family and my appreciation for them and their sacrifices grew stronger and more important. Life is a journey. Many people have been involved in my journey. I have much to be grateful for. I have more walking to do. Many more walks to take…
I love my family.