Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Shane

Today has been surreal in that our good family friend, Shane Hansell, passed away yesterday.  There was a rainbow right around the time he left.
A lot can be said about Shane Hansell as a human being.  Isn't that true of all cancer sufferers?  Why is it that the most pure-hearted, selfless people are the ones who seem to be afflicted by this disease?
Early this morning when I learned of Shane's death, I was so angry and upset.  I questioned God's existence and I wanted to scream at the universe.  Why does this happen to people like Shane; why do some of the dregs of humanity deserve to stay on this earth instead of Shane?

I've had the day to process this and I'm working on turning the anger into gratitude.  Anyway, it's important to think of the positive points:

-Shane had three very wonderful children.  I've known Travis since 6th grade - not very well, but we were in a lot of classes together - and I know that he got a lot of his good qualities from his father.  Allie is a beautiful, smart girl who has been an amazing mother to her little son, Anthony.  And Reid - he's 16, just a year younger than my brother.  Reid and John (my brother) are best friends, and have been best friends for about ten years.

-Shane was like a father to my brother.  We don't have a father figure in our household; that's okay, but a boy probably could use a male role model from time to time.  Shane held that role for John more than just time to time; he genuinely was a constant and amazing man for John to learn from and look up to.  John was at their house all the time; he learned from Shane's words and actions, and I believe that he is a better person because of Shane.  Maybe he doesn't know it yet, but he'll realize that when he's older.

-Shane was honestly, from an outsider's perspective, anyway, one of the most loving, compassionate, selfless husbands I ever knew.  He treated his wife, Julie, with so much care and respect.  I see so many marriages (not the new ones, but the ones that have lasted for a couple decades or more) filled with tension, coldness, and forced love.  From what I could tell, Shane had nothing but honest love for Julie (and vice-versa.)

-He had a kidney removed in 1992 due to cancer.  He got a lot better, and he was fine for many years.  In 2006, cancer found him again, and he had his second kidney removed and was put on dialysis.  That was six years ago; he said that he wanted to see his youngest son (Reid) turn 16.  Sure enough, he fought hard - he was angry and frustrated and determined - and he made it.  He saw his son turn 16, and he also recently visited Travis (the oldest) in Colorado.  He did everything he could to be there for as long as he could for his family.

Shane, you have one of the purest souls of anyone I've been privileged to meet.  Your family and friends love and miss you, but we'll focus on the fact that we're all so fortunate to have had you in our lives.  I cannot even begin to imagine or comprehend how Julie and your three kids and your grandson must feel.  Take care of them.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Depression: Is it real?

Depression seems paralyzing.  I haven't experienced it myself (I'm talking about internal depression, the disorder, not just life-altering sadness caused only by external forces.)  I only mention this (not in the way that there are people who immediately say, "But I'm not gay!" when talking about LGBT-related issues, or something to that effect) because I want to preface this rant/opinion/thought/whatever it is with the fact that I have no personal, first-hand knowledge of clinical depression.  But I feel compelled to write something about it right now.

The topic is on my mind because I overheard two women at work today in the coffee room talking about the fact that "depression" is fiction, made up, and completely concocted by one's intent to receive pity or to give excuses as to why they're not living a fully functional, productive life.  WHY did I not speak up?  I have no idea!  Because I didn't let out my annoyance there, some stupid blog is where I'll express it.  I'm pretty sure I used to subconsciously have a slightly negative opinion of depression until I actually knew people who suffered from it.  It is so real.  I imagine it to be like this: you know how we all have those periods in our life (it could be days or even as long as years) when it seems like we're staring through a tiny window (I know, the term "tunnel vision" would've sufficed to explain that) and we're completely in this restrictive zone where we feel emotionally or physically or mentally trapped.  I look at depression as being a long-term (or maybe depression can be very short-term) state of that.

That's all I really have to say on the matter.  It is demoralizing as humans to demoralize others for something that is completely unrelatable (is that a word?) It's like that phrase, "Seeing is believing" - I guess it takes seeing to understand something, and I get that.  But it's a good goal to reach, in my opinion, to not only believe in what we see, but to trust that millions of people wouldn't make something up.

(photo borrowed from mummydaze)