The word cherish is in my reading vocabulary, but not much in my speaking or writing. Oh, I had promised it would be 15 years ago when I fought breast cancer and realized how many people cared about me. When I noticed how much I hadn't noticed. When I vowed I would be more present, more attentive, more grateful. When I realized how much I had to not only be grateful for, but to cherish and cherish deeply. For, to be grateful for a red rose or a pretty sunset, to be glad a friend called can become an intellectual exercise, a momentary acknowledgment, a good habit, but a habit nonetheless.
My intention was confirmed and reaffirmed when, two years later, John was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins, and he received his stem cell transplant. And survived.
I'd like to say I've lived the dozen or so years since then having kept my promise to myself, but I haven't. I became distracted, caught up with retirement, and moving, and planning and preparing, more everyday tasks and chores. I didn't even catch myself up short when John was diagnosed again a year ago. After all, more tasks to get our "house in order." More planning and preparation.
Then, last weekend a series of sweet, small events gave me pause. Telephone calls from old and new friends to see how we are holding up. To remind me they are here for us. A visit with dear friends who were about to move. And another from friends we left behind when we moved. Hugs and words of endearment and encouragement. And tears that flowed for days - with sadness and gratitude. So much, so many to cherish. How could I have forgotten?
Why does it take a crisis for some of us to remember? To cherish what we have now. To cherish deeply what we have now.