Here is my last month of the BJP project, Hope. Hope is what keeps you going when all other avenues seem shut off. Hope is wishing to stay alive long enough to see your children grow up. Hope is wishing not for a cure, but for treatment that will keep you comfortable and functional. Hope changes constantly, but it never gives up.
Ann drove a 10 year old car 30 miles each way to dialysis because she believed that the director of the program had saved her life (this was a common belief of many patients, I learned). She raised 3 children, who were her pride and joy, and cleaned houses to earn money. Ann was the most generous person I ever met. She would stop if she saw a homeless person to make sure they got a meal or had a blanket. She had next to nothing herself, but she always considered herself more fortunate than others.
Ann had 2 sons and a daughter, Maria. Her hope was to see them graduate first high school and then college. At the time I met Ann, her daughter, Maria, was a college freshman. She often came over from her dorm to sit with her mother for the 3 hours of dialysis. I watched Maria grow up to be a lovely young woman, and I was privileged to be at her wedding and to share in the joy when her 2 daughters were born.
Faith was another dialysis patient whom I bonded with. She worked at the university, although it became increasingly more difficult to do so over the years. We used to have such lively conversations about anything and everything and we both shared a love of crafts.
Ann and Faith both died from health complications. Maria died when she was 32 from an aneurism caused by her kidney disease. A mariachi band played at her funeral. It's hard to be sad when a mariachi band plays, but it was also hard to be happy knowing she was so young and that her 2 children, who were her pride and joy, may never remember her.
From these incredible women, Ann, Maria, and Faith, I learned to never give up hope, and that while hope changes all the time, there is always something new to hope for.
(Thank you to Susan E. for blogging in a style that I have borrowed for this entry. You are an inspiration!)