Usually, I write this blog for the purposes of filling you in with what the life of a "student-athlete" is like. But there are certain times that I just want to talk about the real life stuff, like just being a halfway normal twenty year old or the things that I sometimes struggle with. So this blog (other than me saying that the Quakers are on a three game win streak) is going to be about something else, something more serious than basketball.
I'm not here to tell you that basketball hasn't been good to me --because it has in so many ways. It has made me a better, stronger, more positive person. The game of basketball has instilled in me qualities that will last forever -- like hard work, dedication, responsibility and respect among many other things that I can't exactly wrap my head around to list right now. Basketball has had its way of molding me into who I've become and I thank God everyday for the opportunities that He has given me through basketball. But sometimes, I believe that there are other things that are important too, like family, friends, and loved ones. See my whole life, my family has been my rock, guiding me in every way possible. I grew up a lot different than most kids my age. I had four parents and I was blessed with the greatest, most loving four people that a child could ask for. I can honestly say that I carry tiny pieces of each of them in me that shine through all the time and I hope that I make them as proud as parents could possibly be of their child. I have three siblings who are my closest confidants; a sister who is 22 and is an absolutely beautiful person; an older brother who is my age and is the funniest, most unique person that I have ever met who has a way of making everyone around him smile and feel good about themselves. And a nine year old brother, who is the light of my life, just absolutely the most amazing, precious thing in the world. The fact that he looks up to me makes me want to succeed in every possible way to show him that anything you dream can come true through the notion of knowing that only you can make it happen. Lastly, and I guess where my head is at with this whole blog are my grandparents. I guess because of my large number of parents (yes, a little joke to lighten the mood), I do have quite a few grandparents and unlike a lot of kids my age or maybe from my generation, I have a relatively close relationship with each of them. But in the past year, there has been a health issue that has shaken my world in a serious way.
Last year, I was coming back from the Peace scrimmage and received a call from my step mom, and she told me that my Grandma's breast cancer, which had been remissed for awhile had exacerbated and moved to the bone marrow causing stage four bone marrow cancer, a non-remissable disease. So, we knew that this was going to be an on-going disease that we as a family would have to deal with. My grandma has fought breast cancer for 33 years and her current battle for the past year and two months. And as of yesterday, my dad and step mom informed me that my Nanny Kay wasn't doing so well, the chemotherapy had made her feel exhausted. I think sometimes they keep it short and sweet so that I won't worry too much, so I'll stay focused on my life in Greensboro.
To say that my Nanny Kay isn't one of the strongest women I know would be a lie straight through my teeth. But truthfully, it isn't necessarily the fact that she has cancer as to why I feel this way about my grandmother, but rather the way that she deals with the constant struggle in her life. For the time that I have been present for her battle with this disease, there hasn't been one day that I've seen her say why me? or become angry with the hand that she was dealt, rather she holds her chin up high with dignity. See the truth is, my grandma has never questioned why the hand she was dealt has been so terrible rather she sees it in a much different way. My grandma is the first person to smile at you when you walk into a room or laugh with you when she is feeling at her worst. She is the first person to tell you that she is blessed in so many ways, ways that even cancer cannot touch. Family is the most important part of her life, and you can see that when she is with her daughter (my step mom), her grandkids or her mother. Cancer may have chosen my Nanny Kay, but she has not let it beat her. She fights it every day and I believe that she does so with all of us in mind.
At twenty years young, I can say that I have learned a lot from my parents, my grandparents, and my siblings. But one of the most important lessons I've learned thus far in life is this: Sometimes, we may not understand the trials and tribulations that life hands us, but rather it is more important how we handle the struggles that life has in store for us that make us who we are. We as a family often question how such a wonderful woman could be given such a terrible disease so many different times, but I'm a firm believer that God has a reason for everything. I did not write this blog hoping for a pity party. Rather as an eye opener that though we may feel that what we are going through cannot get any worse, like the whole world is out to get us, just remembers that there is someone else out in the world fighting a bigger battle than you. Maybe it's cancer, maybe it's not. Just remember, it's not about the card that life has dealt you, but it's more so how you choose to deal with your hand that makes you who you are. In life, you always have a choice in all that you do and many times it is that choice that leads you in the right direction.
Have faith, say a prayer, and tell those that you love that you love them each and every day. You never know if or when it might be your last opportunity.
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are. - Bernice Johnson Reagon