Feeling heartbroken as I spent all day and much of the evening taking care of my youngest brother Jeremy who is fighting cancer at Rush Memorial Hospital in Chicago. These past few months, I’m learning to understand the profound beauty of the word “abide”. Jeremy is in a very precarious situation. He’s the weakest I’ve seen him since this cancer battle began. His face is paralyzed which makes it difficult for him to communicate–let alone for others to understand what he’s saying. He has dropped weight drastically in the 3.5 months since he’s been diagnosed–from 220 to 150 pounds. Yet, in the midst of my helplessness, I’m truly learning to abide–to be present to Jeremy as much as I’m able–to rub his bruised and boney feet and his hands, to shift his pillows and blankets to make him most comfortable, to cheer him on when he struggles to take just a few steps on his wobbly legs in order to help his body gain strength, to suction the phlegm from his mouth that he is continually coughing up, to pray for him as he drifts in and out of sleep, to calm his confusion, to swab his pasty mouth as he cannot drink or eat (he is hooked up to a feeding tube 24/7). Yes, I’m learning to abide. To be with Jeremy–in each of these moments–as fully present as I’m able. To accept where he is in this battle yet not give up hope for healing. To stand by my brother, to uphold him, to observe and meet his needs with respect, compassion, and care. To abide. To abide–even in the midst of feeling heartache.

~~ Melissa Mains-Timberlake

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