In the midst of his own personal struggles, Al Martinez, the excellent columnist of the LA Times, is facing someting no parent, or any individual, wants to face: A child, or relative, with cancer.
What begins as a charming remembrance of how a young Marine learned he was a father, and the moment that proud father held his child for the first time...turns serious, an hopefully will move many readers to respond in heartfelt, caring, ways.
I write about her today because she, and all of our family, is involved in a different kind of war; more insidious in a way. Cindy has cancer.
It was discovered some weeks ago, a finding that took a part of her large intestine during subsequent surgery. The surgeon noticed that it had spread to her liver. Soon chemo will begin to shrink the tumor, and then it will be removed.
We discover in adversity what we are composed of. We suffer the shock of painful news, cry tears of self-pity and then, if there is steel in us, we march on.
Cindy is going forward like a warrior into the fray with a toughness that I had expected from her. I know this girl.
I highlight the part about adversity because those words struck a powerful chord with me.
Al spends the next few paragraphs sharing why he has such a special bond with his daugter, and then makes a very touching, hearfelt, request of his readers:
I'm putting her name in print today so that you can tell me stories of your own fight against cancer; so you can help our family find the strength and courage to defeat the enemy within.
We're all family in a way, you and I and Cinelli and Cindy and the rest. We share a mutual village.
Cindy was handed to me a long time ago and occupies a special place in my life and in my heart, and I'm not about to hand her back.
Read the full essay:
You can write Al here: almtz13 @ aol.com
Courage in the face of adversity is something I'm intimately familiar with.
In 1969 my Father became mentally disabled.
I was 9, my sisters were 4, and a year old.
My Father was in, and out, of mental hospitals until his death in 1988.
Those first few years, before I became a teen, were among the hardest of my Mothers life.
As I became more able to stand by her side and help her, and better understand what my Father suffered from, and what my Mom, and our family, was going thru, I had a front row seat to the courage, and determination, of a single Mom to provide for her children, and make sure we were raised up right and proper, and made something of ourselves that I know she would be proud of, and the courage of a man who little understood what was happening to him, but strived to live every clear thinking day he could muster as best he knew how.
Al, please know that my thoughts are with you, and your family, in these trying times.