As I write this post, my closest cousin, Skip, is skating across treacherous territory, consumed by Stage 4 cancer in his lungs and brain as well as infections related to his terribly weakened body.
And as I, and so many others, wait to hear what could very likely be dreaded news, I keep remembering the last time we spoke, when he expressed to me how surprised he was by the outpouring of love he’s received from more people than he ever could have imagined. Indeed, his hospital room in Dallas is like Grand Central Station at times; there are so many friends and family members coming and going.
I was surprised by his surprise. I always know a fun conversation is on the way when I pick up the phone and hear him say, “Well, hello there!” in his deep voice, like a bear but honeyed. And I know I’m not alone in sensing that. I’ve always been struck by how much he just loves people in general, which is why he’s such a great sales person.
Before his illness, if you were going on an adventure, Skip is the sort of guy you’d like to bring along -- a Swiss Army knife of intelligence, comedic moments and resourcefulness. His generosity to other family members has been outstanding, including to me.
When I consider all the people collected around Skip and his amazement, I am reminded once again about how one person can impact others in ways that individual may think of as very slight.
I’ve enjoyed and been inspired by the famous people whom I’ve written about over the years, or whom I’ve encountered in other ways. Their stories are often fascinating, sometimes enthralling. But there are some largely unsung heroes who have touched me as well.