To help deal with grief over my sister’s death in 2016, I began volunteering as a desk receptionist for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a cancer support community–free to those they serve, fully supported by donations–that is literally in my home backyard. Because I am away much of the year, I “fill-in” for receptionists who are unable to take their regular shifts. This past fall, I filled in quite often on cancer support meeting nights.
Through Gilda’s Club, I’ve met many inspiring people–survivors, those living with cancer, family members supporting their loved ones… This past fall, I got to know two people in particular… one who shared decisions he had made about further treatment, the other with whom we discovered mutual connections and enjoyed conversations about living life. I have just learned that these two lovely men recently passed from our world. They honored me with their grace, and the bravery they showed in the face of their mortality was a gift they gave me. The life they lived impacted my life. I will miss them. –jes