Sunday, October 30, 2016

For Rosemary: The Cleveland Race for the Cure

Born in 1917 to parents in their mid-40s, she overcame severe complications during labor and was a survivor at birth. She was a smart, hard working girl, and so skipped grades in elementary school, which eventually led her to earning college and advanced degrees in a time very rare for women. She then went on to marry my grandfather, who proposed marriage to her the very first night he met her, as he was a successful man who lived his entire life never settling for anything but the best. Beautiful, intelligent, with a vibrant, caring soul, he knew a great thing when he saw it. She became a mother to four children, her youngest with a rare genetic disorder of which doctors at the time knew very little. But she fought tirelessly from his infancy through his short adult life to ensure he received the best care and lived a good life filled with constant love, despite his extreme and painful lifelong challenges. She raised her family and was a homemaker while working as a highly dedicated school teacher; she was known for being found asleep at the kitchen table in a pile of graded papers. When her oldest child was in high school (my amazing Mama, her co-survivor), she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought and survived. Years later, she was diagnosed again, and she fought and survived. If you ask anyone who knew this survivor, they would tell you how kind, sweet, giving, and loving she was. Those who knew her well knew there was so much more to her, as she lived a life centered on caring for others, diligence, unrelenting faith, and constant forgiveness; she is the true epitome of selflessness. She never complained about her hardships, in fact most people had no idea all that she went through as she always maintained her sweetness, kindness, and dedication to giving of herself to others through it all.

This morning, I planned to run in downtown CLE in the Race for the Cure, hoping to test my fitness level in preparation for the Chicago Marathon. But as I made my way down Lakeside, my priorities immediately changed. While walking into the race area, I saw all kinds of pink balloons and tents, felt the energy of all the survivors and co-survivors, and was overwhelmed by the presence of a certain survivor, a beautiful Angel, Rosemary Dean Scully, who I'm blessed to say is my Grandmother. With this shift in focus, I decided to run the race as she would, with sweetness and gratitude, and so I made sure to say "thank you" and to give a smile and wave to every police officer and volunteer along the course. Partaking in this event, surrounded by kind, upbeat people just happy to be alive, was moving beyond words and put so much into perspective for me. Life is something that should be celebrated each and every day we have it. I'm so grateful for today, and for having taken part in this event. Moreover, I'm beyond grateful for my Angel, My Grandma Scully, survivor, whose presence is always so apparent exactly when I need her and whose example will resonate in my heart eternally, and for my other Angel, my Mom, co-survivor, who carries on her Mama's legacy each and every day simply by who she is.

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