This beautiful story was submitted by one of my most devoted readers and supporters, Sandra McIntosh and her husband, Mark. Let me tell you what you should know about these two.
They're young, in love, have a young child...and Mark, a stage 4 Colon Cancer patient, was recently placed in hospice care. To clarify, Mark is dying. Let that sink in. While many young married couples worry about getting their dream house, Mark and Sandra are preparing Mark for his final steps on this planet.
I've watched these two beautiful people give this cancer diagnosis everything they had, to be faced with setback after setback...disappointment after disappointment. But through it all, they have stayed strong together.
But this comic isn't so much about Mark as it is about his caretaker, Sandra. To say that Sandra is my hero is an understatement. Being a caregiver is no easy task, and I'm in awe of Sandra's strength through this difficult time.
This comic is for Christmas because I think the best parts of this holiday are the time we spend with one another. I also think the gifts that endure are the memories we make. They are the gifts we give one another that endure.
Below is a photo of the two, as well as Sandra's original submission:
This may be my husband’s last Christmas, but we’re celebrating like it’s his first. When we’re not sleeping or eating we’re busy making memories and taking pictures along the way. Thanks to help of wonderful friends and amazing foundations as a family and a couple, Mark, Mikey, and I are able to go and do wonderful and fun things. Every time we learn another friend, group of people, or foundation has acted upon a Bucket List item it’s like sitting under a Christmas tree and excitedly opening a beautiful gift. It’s one more incredible memory Mikey and I can hang up on the wall and hold in our hearts. Due to so many being so kind we’re able to go to Disney on Ice, see the NY Giants, see Tran Siberian Orchestra, see Jeff Dunham, plan a fun family day in NYC with an organization, hopefully go to Nova Scotia for our 10th anniversary in May depending on Mark’s health. I thought I’d be dragging my hands and arms around in funk and crying. I haven’t been allowed to. At least not for long. Perhaps a tear or two of happiness will escape. With each bucket list item that we check off my heart swells and I dwell on the fresh memories photographed in my head. I see Mark as if there is no cancer and he’s strong and well. He’s smiling ear to ear with sparkles in his eyes. Before my eyes he turns into an excited little boy experiencing a fun and magical event for the first time. I watched as him and our son, Mikey, grabbed hands and glided on the ice with the other Disney characters. Mark ran onto the field of the NY Giants and threw a football around with players. Mark easily contains his feelings, but his eyes and smile have always told stories. I see huge dreams that, even if for a few hours, take the cancer and darkness away. When I’m a part of such a memory and moment I too am able to smile and forget. It helps the memories get in.