I promise, promise, promise that all of my posts will not be gloomy and about cancer but I really have to share this story.
About a year and a half ago I was was given an old (I mean OLD) Toshiba laptop for Connor. He was interested in the computer but our desktop was brand new and I didn't want him screwing it up - he was after all, only 2 years old. So I went on the local Freecycle network and asked for one and sure enough, some guy takes old laptops, refurbishes them and gives them away. His only requirement was that Connor come to the door with me to say thank you (since it was for him) (Funny thing, Connor still remembers that, that he had to 'say thank you to the man'.)
Connor is now 3.5 and has outgrown his little laptop. He's a Starfall junkie and we didn't have his laptop hooked up to the internet. And it was a running an older operating system - it was old...plain and simple.
So I thought it was about time to pass it on to someone else who might be able to use it. I posted it on Freecycle and waited.
About an hour later I checked my email again and there were already about 6 requests for it. When it comes to my giving things away on freecycle I'm pretty particular. I usually chose the person whose response is the most polite. (Seriously some people's response is like "when can I come and get it?" Um, how about never - don't assume just because I'm posting it that it's yours to come and get)
I chose a woman named Shelley because of how she worded her response. She wrote at the end of it, "thanks for considering me" which is something I always write at the end of mine when I'm asking for something on freecycle. So I emailed her back and told her it was hers for the taking and where to come for it.
When she came to the door I was met with an attractive woman, I'd say in her mid early to mid 40's. She was thin but not delicate looking.
She introduced herself and then said "Did you get my second email? Do you think I'm a crazy woman?"
Now we've all heard stories about robbers, rapists and murderers finding victims on Craigslist. Normally when I freecycle something I have it picked up from my porch, I don't answer the door but in light of it being a computer and my being on a main street I opted for her to pick it up from me. My mom was home.
So I said to her 'No, I didn't get the email, is there a problem?"
She said, "No, I just wanted to know if you'd show me how it works....and I'd like to talk to you about your Dad."
It made sense now. I have a link to the Papa's Pride blog in my email signature.
So I invited her in and showed her how the laptop worked.
She then said to me that she's read the Papa's Pride blog and what a lovely tribute it was to my Dad. She then shared with me that she too, had stage 4 endometrial cancer. When someone you've just met shares that with you it really takes your breath away.
She continued on to tell me about how she'd initially been misdiagnosed as being premenopausal and by the time she did get a proper diagnosis it was stage 4. She'd gone through chemo and radiation and naturopathic treatments and nothing helped.
She'd heard about a cancer treatment centre in Mexico and had decided to go there. But since it is obviously not covered by our health care system she and her family and friends were doing some extreme fundraising to get the money she needed to go.
We spent the better part of an hour talking, exchanging fundraising ideas, talking about her family and mine, about her hopes for this treatment and the good stories she's heard.
It's not often you can say you've met someone who's truly made you feel inspired. A year ago this woman was told she had 4 months to live and not only is she still here but she's the personification of hope and strength. You would think that talking about how this treatment is truly her last shot would make her a puddle of emotional goo but she held her head high and proud and smiled and laughed and marveled at the beauty and spirit of the people in her life.
I was quite moved by meeting her. And yes, I think there was probably a reason I chose her email over all the others. A reason why she ended it with "Thanks for considering me."
On a grander scale - it's a great way to live life; considering one another.
Thank you for considering me.