Last week at She Speaks, I met a wonderful girl, Mandy Anderson, who was young enough to be my daughter and we bonded in a huge way. I think we would have anyway because I have a heart for young adult women, but Mandy and I shared a huge life event that is not always positive.
That thing is Cystic Fibrosis.
My youngest sister was diagnosed with this awful disease at 7 months and it has been the elephant in the room for all of us ever since. Mandy also has the disease and has written a book about it which I ,of course, bought and devoured in one sitting as soon as I got home and had a moment to myself. The book has stirred a hornet's nest in my mind.
One of the goals I had when I quit teaching was to help Amy, my sister, write her story. That has been two years ago now and we haven't gotten one word down on paper. It is a hard, hard topic and is going to dredge up lots of hard, hard emotions. For a stuffer like me, that isn't something I look forward to struggling through.
I have been encouraging Amy to start writing her story-the story of living with a life-threatening illness. And I would love for my dad to write from the perspective of parenting a child after being told she probably would be lucky to live to the age of 12. Our family has witnessed several miracles from God, who has gotten us through the many trials.
Even though I never acknowledged it until recently, I have a CF story, too. Illness doesn't just affect the person who receives an awful diagnosis. Because of it, my other sister and I have swallowed some awful medicine, as well.
Now to have the courage to face the hard stuff and get it down on paper.
Are you the sibling of a seriously ill brother or sister? Or perhaps you are the one living with such a diagnosis. Please share in the comments. I would love to talk about it.