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Yesterday, I found out that my cousin (second cousin to be exact, but family is family) April had passed in the morning after a long, hard battle with cancer. She was only 32 years old, but had been fighting this disease for 10 years…she fought bravely, courageously, and never gave up her fight. She also was an inspiration.

While we were not very close, the times we were together when we were younger were great memories, happy memories. I watched her through Facebook as she fought daily to keep her optimistic attitude and vow each day to beat cancer, no matter what it took! It came back many times, she had surgery too much and was in and out of the hospital. I remember many times on her posts seeing her write “FUCK CANCER,” and while I rarely cuss, I whole-heartedly concur with that statement then and, even more so, now.

This isn’t the first family member and I’m sure, as sad as it is to say, not the last family member that I’ve lost/will lose to this disease. I have known or have heard of those who have beat it and I hold on to those stories of hope and that, one day, there will be a cure or a preventative or at least a better treatment that won’t debilitate people so much that they can’t heal.

Not to go on and on about something that pretty much almost everyone, if not everyone, in this world has been touched by in some way, but this leads me to by devotion…

December 3: I guess it’s not so much something I’m thankful for, but something that deserves recognition. I am truly inspired by fighters – fighters of illness, who live every day not sure of its outcome, but who find strength, positivity, and hope and share that with those around them; fighters who dig their way out of rough childhoods, uncontrollable bad events, and pretty much anything life can throw at you and still have a positive spirit, help all those they can, and who overcome obstacles with grace and truth and dedication; the fighters that stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves; and all those who try to change the world, even if it seems impossible, even if it’s only one step at a time, and even though there are others who tell them they never will. It takes a lot of courage and belief in yourself to fight against the evil in this world and you inspire me. Keep it up – you will make it and if you don’t, you’ll be an angel in heaven, helping all of us from above, shining your light down upon us to give us your strength, hope, and most important of all, your LOVE!

December 4: I am thankful for family. Family that is there for the fun time, the parties, the joy, the holidays, the happiness that comes with get-togethers. Family that is there through death, illness, times when you are sad and down, depressed, lost, lonely, confused. Family that celebrates with you n your accomplishments and strengthens and lifts you up above your failures. Family that laughs with you, cries with you, complains with you, is honest with you, feels for you, inspires you, helps you, and is there for you NO MATTER WHAT! THAT is the type of family that I have and they are the ones who I would die for and who would die for me (though I hope none of us is ever in that position). Though there are times that are rough in each family, I would not trade anyone. I am so lucky to have not only my side of the family that I consider to be people as described above, but Jason’s family is also in this circle. Family is forever and I am so blessed to have mine with me for that long…may they all be blessed with love, health, happiness, and as much good as this world can give them. I LOVE YOU ALL!

And because it’s almost Christmastime…dedicated to April (not by me, but I found it and thought it was apt)