Even as I write this I have to take a deep breath and sadness overcomes me. It has been heartbreaking to watch.

You may remember Melissa (not her real name to protect her identity) attended The Women’s Code Conference . She stole the hearts of the audience by candidly sharing what was going on in her life. Her mother is losing her 5th bout with cancer and her family is torn apart by a divorce. Her father has moved on to a new relationship and his soon to be ex-wife a terminally ill woman of 3 daughters ages 11, 14 and 16 has to figure this out on her on.

Melissa is angry, sad and sometimes I think that she is so overwhelmed by the emotional burden that she doesn’t really know what she feels. The illness of her mother has defined her entire teenage year. All she wants is to be able to be a normal teenager. Something that cancer has stolen from her. Her anger can’t be directed at anything so she turns it against herself.

Her choices are still a little shaky. She just doesn’t have enough support and strength. She is after all only 16. But she is growing up fast. She knows that her mother ‘will be gone.’

The doctors send her mom home and told her to get her affairs in order. She may have only until the end of this summer. I went to see her a few times and she is thin, frail, and on an IV unable to consume any type of food. It’s been like this for months.

I get angry. I want to do something. I want to challenge something to a fight. But there is no fight and it’s not even my fight. So I watch and observe and offer to be there if and when needed.

This story will not have a happy ending I fear. I have taken on one fight though. I promised Melissa’s mom I will do what I can to get her daughter to graduate high school. We successfully enrolled Melissa into her first online make-up class (Algebra) and are $65 short in fundraising to enrolling her in her next make-up class English. If you feel you can and want to contribute to her fund, you can contribute whatever amount feels comfortable to you right here [link inactive & removed -ed].

We are hard pressed to accept the will of a higher power that renders us powerless in the face of a catastrophe or a terminal illness. From the many responses I have received after I posted several video’s of my dear friend Dagmar who passed away from cancer in 2009 all I can tell you is this. We must remain a sense of normalcy and stay with our friends through these times. If you see someone who is facing a crisis, send a note, make a call or grab some food and hang out with them just because your company gives comfort.


What have you done that created comfort for someone facing a tragedy? Please share your thoughts with us.

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