Caring for others is my resolution

Published: January 11, 2007 | 5280th good news item since 2003

Everybody’s family is dysfunctional. I’m sure anyone reading this could trade stories for hours about how their family would win any contest that picked the most dysfunctional of all. I know I have plenty I could share that would both amuse and shock at the same time.

It also pretty much goes without saying that families fight – sometimes a lot. My family had what we all refer to now as a “misunderstanding” a few weeks before Christmas that seemed like it would never end.

But, as cheesy as it might sound, we all love each other and realized this even during the misunderstanding. Family is essentially one of the bedrocks of any society. After all, they are the people you are bound to by blood, genetics and even law.

Family is too important to cast aside over minor disputes and, yes, misunderstandings. Good family members will always be there for one another no matter what.

Unfortunately, a lot of times we all take our families for granted. Sometimes it takes something tragic to make us appreciate the people surrounding us.

Last week, my family found out that my dad’s younger sister – my aunt Angel – has breast cancer. Even as common as it is (one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer), it’s shocking when it hits that close to home.

Angel and I have always been close. She was only 11 when I was born, so she still lived with my grandparents, which is where I stayed most of the time while my mom and dad were at work.

She used to entertain and dance for me when I was a baby. Then as I got older, she’d help me build houses out of Lincoln Logs and other exciting constructions with Tinker Toys. No one can build a house with Lincoln Logs like Angel can.

When I was in seventh grade, she worked at my school. I remember spending the night with her often and riding with her to school. She also let me watch movies my mom and dad wouldn’t let me watch.

I’ll never forget the two of us renting Scream and then turning it off because we were both so scared. It didn’t help that we both tried to scare each other after her apartment was completely dark. The movie was much better in the daylight.

Being a working college student means there isn’t as much time to spend with your family as you were able to do as a kid. Fortunately, my family lives in Tuscaloosa. I still see them often, and even though Angel and I aren’t able to hang out a lot, we’re still close.

I don’t know that there’s a week that’s gone by during which we haven’t at least called each other to talk about our favorite show, “Grey’s Anatomy.” My grandmother gave both of us season two of the show and DVD, and I told Angel we should watch it together. I then laughed as we both realized the chance of her getting her three kids settled and us both actually having free time at the same time would be nearly impossible.

Though families don’t always get along and though Angel and I might have had some differences before doesn’t mean there isn’t love there.

The beginning of a new year always brings about new promises and resolutions. I only have one that I am adamant about keeping. I’m going to show the people in my life how much I love them and how much I appreciate them, and I’m going to be a kinder person to everyone. Besides, isn’t that easier than eating healthy and exercising?

It really isn’t that hard to show people that you care. It only takes simple acts.

On Sunday, my family’s church had a special prayer service for Angel. Before I even got there, I was overwhelmed with love and compassion. My best friend Heather offered to go with me even though she is really involved in her church, and it meant so much to me.

As we walked in the doors, I noticed several people wearing pink clothes and almost everyone in the church was wearing a pink ribbon to show their support for Angel. I know it meant a lot to her, and it definitely meant a lot to our family, including me.

It’s touching and refreshing to know someone cares. It is my wish that Angel and everyone else in my family knows how much I care about them this year, and I’m going to do everything I can to show it.

It is also my wish that during this hard time you will keep Angel, her husband Johnny, their three kids and the rest of our family in your prayers. This is going to be a difficult journey for her and for all of us. But our family is filled with love, and that makes us strong enough to handle even the toughest situation.

Published in Life
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