I sang at my little brother’s wedding almost nine years ago, as he and his new bride lit the unity candle and looked into each other’s eyes. He was just twenty-one years old, and she was only twenty.
For the next decade, Danielle and Brandon filled their lives with what mattered most: Love.
Love carried them through Brandon’s basic training in the Air Force. Love strengthened their bond during five moves across the country for his job as an air traffic controller. Love brought their two young boys into this world.
Love held them up when Brandon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Love gave them the fortitude to endure twelve rounds of chemo, thirty-three rounds of radiation, an immunotherapy drug, and a stem cell transplant.
And when the oncologist told Danielle that there was nothing more they could do, it was their love that gave her the strength to say goodbye.
I sang at my little brother’s funeral almost five months ago, as his bride looked at the body of her husband. She was only twenty-eight.
For those of us who have lost a loved one to cancer, Valentine’s Day is bittersweet. This holiday can easily send us into a downward spiral that elicits more feelings of loneliness than romance.
So, let us follow Danielle’s example, who finds solace today because she now knows what it truly means to love and be loved in return.
If you want to honor a loved one this Valentine’s Day, please consider supporting breakthrough oncology research efforts by visiting the National Foundation for Cancer Research’s dedicated Rose Fund page. You can also learn more about the program by viewing NFCR’s Honor & Memorial page.