Today, the sun shone brightly
while the chill wind blew lightly
Today, I woke up refreshed
Smiling and feeling my best

No one warns you as a child
that the world is not all mild
No one tells you as you grow
Life will hit its high’s and low’s

I close my eyes and see you
With your cowboy hat brand new
You’ve lost some weight from treatment
Yet your strength does not relent

I saw your fight to survive
The desire to stay alive
How frightened you must have been
To battle cancer and hope to win

Today, I heard you relax
Your bravery reached its max
The pain doesn’t hurt anymore
When Heaven opens its doors…

R.I.P. Uncle Benny. You fought long, you fought hard and no one can say you never tried. I never did tell you, Thank You, for teaching me compassion and forgiveness. I remember the time Tiffany closed the men’s Mah Jong room door on my hand because she didn’t know it was there, but I thought she did. It hurt so much and I was so angry. When you’re eight amongst a couple dozen cousins, you’re just a number until you make something of yourself. While all the other adults just kept playing their game and talking and the cousins went back to their rowdiness, you scooped me up and carried me into the kitchen. Boy, I was trying hard not to cry and I didn’t win that fight when you told me you were going to rub alcohol on my scrapped and bruised hand. I remember trembling as I held out my hand and you looked me in the eye to say, “It’ll hurt for a few seconds, but I know you’re a strong girl. Tiffany didn’t mean to hurt you – you must go in later and tell her it’s okay. She’s little and she doesn’t understand. You understand this will hurt, but it will only hurt now, not later.” Not many people give you or Uncle James credit for being compassionate and gentle, but I do. You somehow made that alcohol not sting one bit and even when you rubbed it in, I couldn’t complain. Years later when I was trying to make something of myself, I remember you would take only a minute to ask me how I was doing in school and if I was staying out of trouble. You never said you were proud of me, but the way you stood, straight and alert, made me feel the same way. I miss you. Thank You for all you’ve given me. I honor your memory.

The difficulty you now endure that will ultimately shape your character is heart wrenchingly painful. Yet, I see great strength and determination in your young self. You are learning now how to ask for help – sometimes it will seem impossible but you can’t fly solo if you want to make it to and through med school. It doesn’t get easier, it will just get harder. Hang in there ~ Dr. Warren


I congratulate you for your devotion to family and sense of self. I hope you realize you need someone to take the burden off your shoulders every once in a while – you gotta take care of yourself, too. ~ Andrea