Alicia Townsend: Real reasons to be thankful

To the Editor:

It might seem cliche and maybe a little redundant to express these sentiments at this time of year, but these things need to be said to those in our community and beyond, who have been so generous and helpful, and supporting and caring to us in our time of crisis.

Jim was diagnosed with prostate cancer (with a P.S.A of 27) in July. It truly shook our lives to the core. We were bewildered and scared and everything else that goes with this diagnosis. We went on a road trip to Oregon, where it was confirmed by phone that it was indeed a very aggressive cancer. We felt very alone, until we stopped at a campsite on a beach. We were adopted by this elderly couple, who taught us how to fly triple kites, showed us all of the out-of-the-way sites in the area, but mostly they just listened to us and lent support where they could.

That week on the beach was one of the most valuable vacations we have ever taken because of them and where we were mentally at the time. Since then, we have faced some very tough times and so very many people have been there in this community (as well as our friends and family) to lend support in every way.

If I tried to mention them all, I know I would forget somebody.

Even though this has been a very hard time in our lives, I think it has also been a very miraculous time as well. It made us truly understand what people who care really mean. I've had parents at parent-teacher conferences ask me about Jim, as well as former students. My co-workers as well as Jim's have been very supportive how ever they could. People that Jim delivered to have stopped me in the stores to ask how Jim was doing and asked me to tell him they were thinking of him. Those things seem so minor, and yet it makes a world of difference. It makes things not seem so hopelessly scary. It renewed relationships with family members and friends that we had not seen in years. It also made friendships that we have now seem all the more special.

Yet people who know me know that I avoid sentimental mushy stuff like the plague, but I also realize how important it is that these things be said. Thank you, you have truly made a difference in our lives.

Every day, we each live with possibilities, both good and bad. But, I can tell you that this Christmas I have to look back at this year and really be thankful for what we have now at this moment.

Alicia Townsend

P.S. -- If you have not had a checkup for several years, please do not delay.

P.S.S. -- I still hate the mushy sentimental stuff, so don't come up hugging and kissing on me or any of that junk just because I wrote this.

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