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In Sickness and in Health

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42 Years ago my dad made a vow to mom.  He promised to love her in sickness and in health, to have and to hold from that day forward.  I’m sure at the time he meant it, but he had no idea what that would actually look like.

In 2013 my mom was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor, which is a very aggressive type of brain cancer.  Everything we read online at the time said she probably had about 6 months to 1 year to live.  It’s been over 3 years since her initial diagnosis and in the past 3 years I have seen just how remarkable the relationship between my parents is.  There has been a lot of tears, anger, and confusion within our family.  For all the bad, there has been so much good and I feel that I have learned so much just by watching these two people teach me about love.

Loving someone when things are going smooth is easy.  It’s when we are faced with real life problems and challenges and are faced with the choice of doing what we know to be right, versus the easy path.  In the end, if it is truly love, you don’t actually have a choice.  You will always take the hard path, but it is the path on which true sacrifice, love and joy are forged.  There have been things left unsaid I am sure by all of us.  I want to invite us to share how we truly feel with one another.  I know it can be hard, and we would rather just pretend like things are normal, but they are not, and I don’t want anything left unsaid.  I don’t want any regrets from any of us in the May family.

Mom,

I love you so much.  I want to start off by saying that.  I do not know how long we will get to have with you and I am grateful for the time we have gotten with you.  I am so thankful that you got to meet and hold both my daughters Afton and Isla.  When we found out the initial diagnosis about your cancer, my biggest fear and regret was that you may not get to meet your grandchildren or that Afton wouldn’t really remember you or know what an amazing person you are.  Here we are 3 years later and you have gotten to witness Marge’s wedding, Rob’s wedding, you’ve met Ava Caroline, you’ve met Isla bean, and who knows what else you will experience.  I know it has been hard.  I know the road has not been easy for you or for dad, but I know that every day we get to spend with you is something I appreciate so much more than I used to.  Our time is precious and I needed to let you know how much I love you and how much you mean to me.  One of the things I love most about you is that you always encouraged me to make my own decisions, even if you didn’t always agree with them.  You let me make mistakes and you let me live.  You allowed me to be 100% me, F-Bombs and all.  For everything you’ve done for me, and the ways in which you have encouraged and supported me, all I can say is thank you mom.  When you have “gone to glory” which I hope is many years from now, this is how I will remember you, as an amazing, supportive, encouraging, strong woman!!

Dad,

You have shown me what it truly means to be there for your spouse in sickness and in health.  You have always been an amazing husband and father, but I have seen what this looks like when things are really tough.  From taking mom to all her appointments, traveling back and forth to Duke, to learning how to cook just about anything under the sun (including that banging ass bread).  I know that this is how I need to serve Katie, by being there for her no matter what.  Thank you for all your actions over the past 3 years and what they have taught me and all of your children.  Both your life and mom’s have great meaning and purpose and you have taught us so much.  Thank You Dad.

My encouragement to everyone is to tell the people you love the most how you really feel about them.  Don’t leave it for them to guess.  Tell them with your words and show them by your actions just how much they mean to you.

 

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And here is what we have to look forward to coming up, another sweet granddaughter and a granddoggy named Lily May.  Some photos including the birth announcement below were courtesy of Cole Gorman of Blest Studios.

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  • Jeff Brinck

    Andrew that was beautiful and very well said. We have never meet face to face but I do know who you are. I am the Jeff that is going to marry Terry in a couple of months. Terry and I have talked a little about your parents and she really respects and loves them very much. She has said that she wants me to be like your dad. That is definitely some big shoes and you said it well. As a parent of adult children too I hope that I have impressed on mine half as much as your parents did on you. What you have said to your parents was that they have done what they set out to do with you and your siblings. I have no doubt that your parents are standing so proud right now. Thank you for sharing we me and everyone that reads this.ReplyCancel

    • maypa@mac.com

      Thank you for your kind words Jeff. I really like how you put it, that my parents accomplished what they set out to do. I hope to pass that on to my girls as well. Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. I hope everyone feels the boldness to tell their loved ones how they really feel.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Skierczynski

    Andrew that was beautiful tribute … We have been through the Big C diagnosis and I just past my 10 year mark with one recurrence. The diagnosis is devastating .. My first reaction was ” how can I tell my family as I had just lost my brother 2 months earlier to Cancer.” You really find out how strong your spouse and family are even though they are hurting inside. Your parents are such beautiful people and have raised a wonderful family. We enjoyed the times we spent with them at sporting events and family weddings… Memories we cherish also. I hope they have many more years together. We have you all in our prayers and thoughts always.
    CarolReplyCancel

  • Jan Ledwig

    Andrew, sorry to hear about your Mom. These letters and your testament were very fulfilling and Your love for your parents, siblings and your wife and daughters shine so brightly! My thoughts n prayers are with you and your family! God bless!ReplyCancel

  • Carole Clark

    Andrew, you have such amazing insight in a very difficult chapter of all of your lives. Your perspective is encouraging for all of us. God bless you, your sweet, beautiful momma and your loving dad, as well as the rest of the May family.ReplyCancel

  • kristi

    Andrew, these are the most beautiful images of your wonderful parents!! Brings tears to my eyes to see your mom looking so fabulous!! They are the most amazing couple everReplyCancel

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