Finally, I had been offered my “dream job.” I am a huge fan of Berea College and the work they do primarily with young people from the nearby mountains. When they read my resume and we talked and they wanted to hire me for a special summer program, I said “yes” with no reservations.
But actually there was a reservation. My daughter Phoebe was due to have twins in late summer and I chose to have the faith that I could do my Berea program and then go on to Denver to be with Phoebe. An early June telephone call told me that the twins had no intention of waiting and I would be needed before the end of summer. On the plane ride to Denver, I switched from crying to laughing, from having to give up my “dream job” to getting to meet, help with, fall in love with our new family members, Taylor and Kelsey.
From the moment I met those two precious beings, the falling in love scene took over. Between diaper changes and endless rocking them, I would study their little faces. I never knew beforehand how different twins were. I watched as Kelsey wanted to make her twin brother happy. She would scoot her tiny body as close to his as she could. It amazed me to see him relax, draw in the warmth of her and stop crying.
I had no idea if all twins were this close, but our two surely were. The real proof of Kelsey’s basic nature to nurture came on a day when, no matter what she did, he still screamed. She all but wrapped herself around him and then she literally offered her thumb into his mouth. I could not believe it, nor could he, but it did not take long before all the ease and safety that goes with a thumb to suck on was happily accepted and both of them fell into a blissful sleep.
I like to think that Kelsey’s basic nature of wanting to help others, to live a life of nurturing, began right then and there. Over the years, I watched her work with animals and early on, she developed a sweet relationship with the family cats and dogs and her own horse. I noticed that she did not just play with and love on their four-legged family members, she would seek out ways to make their lives fuller, more comfortable and safer.
Gene and I lived many miles away from them, but with every visit back and forth, I was aware of the close, sweet and honest friendship Kelsey had with her mom and dad. Each one developed differently as she always wanted to be the daughter to each they wanted her to be. She did this by watching her parents live lives of giving to others, of always stepping up to meet the needs of others and then emulating them. In fact, each of the three kids (Kelsey, Taylor and big brother Kyle) all emulate their parents in this way.
In her mid teens, Kelsey drew close to her Papa, Gene Brody. She watched as he faced the reality that he was diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma and would have to go through two rounds of treatment in the next years. Everyone in our family was affected by his challenge but for Kelsey, it became life-changing. Here is what she wrote recently:
Jillian Michael’s trainer and life coach for the popular reality TV series The Biggest Loser once said, “Thriving. That’s fighting. Surviving is barely getting by.” My grandfather, Gene Brody, is one who has fully embraced this thrive motto throughout his life. He has done so since 2005 when his fight with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma began. The thrive motto is fitting because this type of lymphoma does not have a cure, it will always resurface after some time in remission. Therefore, as my Papa would say, “There is no surviving, only thriving.” My Papa has helped himself thrive through his dedication to fitness and running. He has run in numerous marathons and races all around the world, even after his diagnosis and treatments. His last race was a 5K at age 86 where he finished first in his age division and crossed the finish line in his famous “Cancer Thriver” shirt.
Since his last race, I have dedicated my life to this thrive motto. Not only helping myself thrive but others as well. I realized there would be no better way to show my dedication than by completing an Olympic length triathlon! That is a 1.5 mile swim, 30-mile bike ride, and 10k run where every step, every mile, and every part of my race is in honorary dedication of my grandfather and those who suffer from other various blood cancers.
And her love and respect for her Papa has led to this:
To accomplish this mission I am participating in the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon on June 22, 2013, as a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training (TNT). Like the other members of TNT, I will be raising funds to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. I’m improving the quality of my life and the lives of patients and their families as well. I want to help others Thrive in their life with cancer as well!
If you want to join me by donating online, here’s how: http://pages.teamintraining.org/rm/lltltri13/kelseypoosbenson (you can also visit my Facebook page:www.facebook.com/KelseysTriToThrive.
We are so proud of our Kelsey and certainly proud of this latest mission.
The view from the mountains is wondrous.