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True Friends

Through this cancer journey I am learning how to be a real, true friend, and I'm so grateful to all of you for your shining examples. Shane and I have been transformed by your love and we now have a new standard to hold ourselves to.

Here's what I've learned from you.

True friends mourn with you.

Like Lund who came to visit and cried when he heard about the results of Shane's MRI. And Ryan who wept when he laid his hands on Shane's head and gave him a blessing of comfort.

True friends do hard, inconvenient things in order to show their love.

Like Bryan and Paige, two dear friends who we've known since we were newlyweds. When they heard that we would be leaving for Europe soon, they dropped everything, sent their kids at Grandma's, hopped in the car and made the 7-hour trek from SoCal. And they said they didn't care whether they only spent 10 minutes with us, they just wanted to show their love. They came, brought so much joy to my heart (these are two of the BEST people you will ever, ever meet). Side note about this wonderful couple, you know they're special because they are the only people we told (besides my sister) when we were planning a home birth with Sage. They had zero judgement about all that and went on to have two home births of their own.

And then there's Kristi, Shane's younger sister who lives on Oahu. She summoned all of her courage and strength to make the trip to see Shane. Kristi has some unique challenges in her life, so for her to make the journey to the mainland was about as easy as summiting Everest. But she did it for Shane. And she and her husband, Kainoa, were a boon and joy to my children and all of us.

Melissa, Shannon and Chad, Shane's other siblings, who have full lives and many children and responsibilities, dropped everything to come and be with Shane.

Dear Sandra and John Ludwig who offered their home to us while we were in a state of flux having just arrived from Colorado. They are the parents of Shane's best friend from growing up; staying in their home was the closest thing to home for Shane since it was his second home growing up. They patiently endured the endless stream of visitors and the other interruptions to their lives, and brought so much cheer and love to our days.

Shannon, my dear sister-in-law (but I can just drop the in-law with all of my beautiful sisters by marriage---they are true sisters in every sense of the word) who received my call just moments after Shane called me to tell me about his CT scan results. I was in shock, but I knew I needed to get the kids somewhere safe, stat. I didn't feel it would be healthy for them to see us fall to pieces. Shannon and I wept and then I asked her if I could send the kids to her that very afternoon. She immediately welcomed them into her world.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Shane's parents. We got the diagnosis on a Thursday afternoon and by Saturday afternoon they were by our side, where they stayed until the moments just before we got on our flight. They filled every need Shane had, were endlessly supportive, unfailingly kind and cheerful. The reality is that when you are as sick as Shane you just want your mom; some things never change John and Shelly kept a constant vigil with Shane during his waking hours over the course of several weeks.

Then there's my Dad who has been our logistics guy, travel companion, and guardian angel. There is no hyperbole involved when I say that we could not have made this trip successfully without him. He is a constant support for me as I support Shane which means that on the whole I feel pretty darn good, tired but good.

True friends love you even when you are weak and petty and scared. Like Melissa and Wendy. I shared all of my darkest, deepest thoughts with them and they just loved me. And Heather, Meredith, and Shannon, with whom I can always be completely honest.

True friends remember you always. Jose, David, Dan, and Alex, who visited, called and texted often. The many wonderful friends who brought the most appetizing, thoughtful meals (one friend said she prayed about what to make and boy did she make exactly the right thing) that sustained us for many weeks. Emily, who would gather up my children and take them adventuring with her crew. She and her darling children brought such happiness to Haven and Micah's days. Kersti who sent the loveliest gift of essential oils that Shane and I use daily. Heather who made nourishing food and brought prenatal vitamins (brilliant!) because she knew I couldn't possibly be eating the way I ought to be.

Seth and Meghan who came to adjust Shane and offered to come as often as he needed. Mari, who gave Shane the most delicious massage allowing him to relax deeply and get relief from his discomfort, and brought us heavenly steak and chicken pot pies.

And to friends who we're just getting to know like John and Marsha, who served us (and our family) just because they can.

There are so many others who have visited, called, texted, emailed and donated money for Shane's care, some of whom asked to remain nameless. To all of you, we thank you with deep gratitude, affection and love.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:13

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