10/22: Today, I attended the funeral of someone who lost their battle with cancer. He was someone from the community, and someone I wrote about in my blog. (For my reflections of the funeral, and what I, personally, was feeling, see was http://unicorns-and-dragons.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html).
Listening, however, to how he lived his life, the legacy he wanted to leave his baby boy and family (he was fortunate enough to be able to articulate this to family and clergy before he passed away), while I questioned why I was there, I kept playing with my LIVESTRONG bracelet. I knew why I was there.
Perhaps someone would catch a glimpse of the tell-tale yellow band on my wrist and read the message. Though I was weeping for the life that was lost that I didn't get to know (and I wish I had), I was standing strong. I represented a family-member's school day friends. I was standing there for nameless others that stand strong for families and friends and mourners and fighters all around the world.
I knew I had to be there.
I had to show there was a tomorrow. That he wasn't going to be forgotten. That the pain and agony that he, and his family endured, was not unnoticed. That the immediate pain of the loss was seen at the moment and during the mourning process. But we know that pain started a long time ago, and will continue. But there are shoulders to lean on. To help them continue to LIVESTRONG when he cannot. For him. For themselves. For his son.
Jonathan will LIVESTRONG. That's how he lived his life. He loved the outdoors, he loved the challenges of the sea, of running on foot, and riding his bike. He was part of the LIVESTRONG family before the cancer. He was part of the LIVESTRONG family without ever wearing a yellow band. And the LIVESTRONG family will be part of theirs, if they want us to be.
10/27: I just received this image from my friend, Jody, who offered to ride a portion of her LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, TX in Jonathan's name. I just wanted to share it with you: