Guest Story: Love and Light Through the Unknown
On any given day, you can usually find Caring House guest Cheryl in the library reading a good book or walking around the house passing out handfuls of candy to staff with a smile.
“I try to give you guys candy every day because you do so much for others. I don’t have much but it’s the least I can do. Put a smile on your face. Some tootsie rolls, or some starbursts.”
Cheryl is a naturally joyful and warm person, always with a pep in her step. Dressed to the nines nearly every day, today she sits down with me wearing a bright long cardigan with matching jewelry and a stylish hat. She loves making people smile, cracking a joke, and focusing on the good. It’s no wonder she has quickly become a fixture of Caring House.
Cheryl is a grandmother of ten living in Lynnwood, NC. You can instantly feel her generous, caring spirit when you spot her in a room. She is at Caring House for nearly six weeks during treatment for a type of lung cancer that is frankly, a mystery. “They’ve never seen this type of cancer before so they don’t know how to treat it,” she says.
But despite this unknown, Cheryl keeps her spirits high. Rooted in her faith and positivity, she keeps an inspiring perspective on life that keeps her moving. “Life goes on. And I just live each day to the fullest,” she says.
Cheryl wondered what community living would look like at Caring House, but she quickly realized it felt like home. She enjoys sharing meals with other guests, listening to evening piano players, reading books from our library, and working on puzzles and crafts. She also includes the relationships she’s built here through conversations on the shared experience of going through cancer treatment.
“Without Caring House, I don’t know where I would be. I’d probably be sitting somewhere worried to death, not knowing, no one to really talk to. I don’t want to stress my husband out all of the time with it, so there’s really nobody to talk to. Being here gives me that opportunity to communicate with people that are going through the same thing,” she says.
As her experience at Caring House comes to an end next week, Cheryl is excited to be reunited with her family and German Shepherd. Her unwavering gracious spirit will remain. As we wrap up our conversation, she shares something with me that is so moving to hear.
Cheryl knows her cancer is unprecedented, something that doctors are unsure of how to treat. But instead of yielding to fear, she focuses on a beacon of hope. “I’m okay with it if they’re not able to help me, I just hope that with the next person to come behind me with this type of cancer, that the doctors have studied enough from me that they will be able to tell that person what type of cancer it is and how to treat it. And I’ll be blessed to have had that,” she says.
Cheryl is the kind of person that is simply unforgettable. She jokes that she will live to be 120, and I hope she does. She brings a light to Caring House that makes people feel seen, and contributes to our peaceful community environment.
“Little old me?” she asks.
Little does she know, it’s people like her that make our house a home.
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Written by: Kristen Luft, Communications Associate