An Open Letter: What Happened To Us?

Dear family, friends, and acquaintances,

What happened to us? What happened to the concept of family and close friends?

Have we really lost all reality of what it means to be family? Have we engaged in such superficial dialogue that when we speak to each other there is some hidden agenda?

Can you remember the last time you actually asked about each other without feeling it was an inconvenience? We hide our troubles and pain from each other. Not because we may cause a burden, but because there may be a small portion of that discussion that we may feel will be used against us.

Whether we lost a parent, child, uncle, aunt, grandparent, or cousin, we only appear to ask about each other when in mourn. We are quick to say “if you need anything let me know”, but also so quick to turn away from those who require someone to be there for them emotionally.

We are appearing to engage with each other through online mediums such as Facebook or snapchat, but find it hard to really ask a person how they are doing to their face. We have superficial dialogue that comes immediate to us to ask a person “how are you?” But not really care for the response.

We portray a different person online, comment on pictures, or share photos hoping someone would like it.

I remember as a child when it was someone’s birthday we would always get together. Whether cook outs, holidays, or just to get together. Now we use the excuse that people are getting old, or people have their own families to deal with. This is the time where we should be around each other.

When someone’s in trouble it becomes difficult to help them because we don’t have time. We only grow closer to someone when we lose them.

Some of us are hurting in silence. Some of us are showing hurt in front of all. But we refuse to actually ask our family to speak up and dialogue about the pain.

We defend those so quick that aren’t family or close friends, and put down those who need us the most.

Some things are personal and should be left personal. Your business is yours! I’m talking about the support system that has disappeared. It’s so easy to say “did you hear about so and so”. We enjoy gossip, and talking about other people who we call family. We get involved with someone’s life decisions when it’s convenient for us. We become judgmental because people’s life choices are not ours. We don’t stand up for those who need us the most.
We are quick to make a Facebook status about our feelings, rather than talk to the person about the problems. We seek validation from strangers, and not solve the issue directly with the person we have the problem with.

When someone wants to get married, we talk about why we don’t like the person they chose, and instead we choose not get to know the other person, and see for ourselves. We tell someone how they should spend their money, or ask how much they paid for something. We are consumed with the idea that money is above all. We let money come between family. “He owes me this, or she took this from me”.

We tell those to get a better job, without even knowing what job they already have.
We are too quick to make recommendations, and not understand the other persons perspective.

We believe we know best about someone else’s bad or good choices, without examining our own faults.

We call ourselves Godly, and find it hard to help people in need.

We teach our kids to live a materialistic life, and not understand the true meaning of living.

We separate ourselves from each other based on social and economic status.

We are becoming greedy, and teaching our kids to be greedy as well.

We expect something in return when we do something good for someone.

We get mad or stop talking to each other for things in the past, and go to church with hate in our hearts.

If you believe you have some dark things about yourself that you need to change, take the time to do so.

Show love and compassion to one another.

Visit family members when you can. I know it’s not easy for myself to visit family. But the attempt to actually know your family is needed. What we knew about each other before, is different today.

We get defensive when someone points out the wrong in us.

I know who has been there for me and my family. I also know that my family is open to helping others. Let us help people without any expectation to get something in return.

There is a deep sadness and nostalgic feeling in me that wishes it were my childhood, because that’s when I have felt the most happiness. No technology, no Facebook, just family and making memories. Playing dodgeball with my siblings and cousins, basketball, playing outside and just being children. To go back to that is impossible, but we can make the best of it.

Redefine family to what it used to be and not just something that is disposable.

If I have wronged anyone at all I apologize. I hope that someday we can be honest with each other in a positive way before it is too late. When someone leaves this earth, we begin to feel a bit of regret because of the way we treated them or didn’t treat them.
We all go through something that can’t be explained, but we can be compassionate to one another because we have the ability to be human and loving.

If you got defensive or angry from this, that wasn’t the point. Just to redefine your purpose if you feel a bit lost or hurt.

Sincerely,
Me

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Love, Hope, Strength, Faith: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Rhonda Nemri

It was last May of 2015, I signed up to do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I decided to join because most of my coworkers/friends had joined, and I thought to myself it’s for a good cause. I didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but I still felt connected to it because cancer had affected my family. My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of 2012, and had lost his battle in June of 2013. So the connection was highly there, as I related this race to the loss of my father from cancer. It was my first 5k for a cancer event. Even though it was an unrelated cancer it still pushed me to participate, and feel the pain those felt fighting breast cancer, and losing to it. 

This year as the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure approached it was different for me. I wanted to join not only because it was for cancer, but because my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in January of 2016, and is currently seeking treatment for it. I don’t share this with many people, but this event has prompted me to share my thoughts.

Signing up for this race I thought to myself I’m going to participate in this and experience it in a different light. I was supposed to meet my coworkers/friends for a pre race photo at our company office the morning of the race, which is only a few blocks away. I was running late, and thought I will just walk to this event alone and wait for them there since I was running a bit behind for the photo.

When I actually got to the event, I noticed so many people there dressed in full support for the cause. Women and even men all dressed in pink, children running around with supportive gear, and different booths set up for free items for supporting.

When I got closer to the main stage, they began their announcements, and upbeat music to get us in preparation for the race/walk. They announced that they would have a survivors parade, which entailed breast cancer survivors walking and cheering with signs that stated Faith, Hope, Strength, and Love. At that moment I felt very connected and tears rushing down my face. I wanted the tears to stop to avoid people staring, but it didn’t work. It was an overwhelming feeling I couldn’t control. After a few minutes I felt this positive vibe, and  then realized how many women and even men suffer with breast cancer. These survivors allowed me to see the strength in these women who have fought with it, but also those who have lost their battle. It did however give me hope and faith.

I’ve connected with these women and they didn’t even know it. I thought about my mother through this all, and remembered how strong she is. She doesn’t have an easy life, but she manages to wake up and get through her day fighting. Something I believe I may not be able to do if I were in her shoes.

I was alone for the most part of the beginning, and wondered if my coworkers/friends should be with me so I wouldn’t cry or break down. But I am glad I had that moment to myself. 

I was doing the 5k run, and most of them signed up for the 10k so I even ran alone. I kept thinking I don’t care about what time I would finish this race, I just wanted to finish it regardless of time. 

The race started at 8 am and run start time began at 8:03 am. As I was running I noticed all the different types of runners. The ones that were survivors, the ones that were running for the cause, and the ones that were running on behalf of those who lost their battle. I was the runner that was running on behalf of my mother who is currently living with this cancer and fighting it each day. It inspired me to keep running.
I passed my first mile, and felt I’m not going to stop. I did eventually stop for a moment to walk, but I kept going. As I was approaching the finish line I noticed those cheering me and the others near me to finish. I sprinted to the finish line and the tears came down. I was again alone and just noticed all those around me celebrating their finish. I was happy and proud for them, even though I didn’t know them. I grabbed my banana and water and sat on the cool grass watching those finishing the race.

When I finally met with my coworkers/friends I was happy to see them and high fived them for finishing the 10k. We took plenty of picture and danced a little. It was beautiful and an experience I won’t forget. I have done plenty of 5k races for different diseases, but this one in particular will always be one I won’t forget. 

Participating in these races allows you to give to the cause, as well as running for those who have fought and/or lost their battle. It actually pushes you to keep going. 

Ever since losing my father to cancer, and watching my mother fighting breast cancer, life has been seen in a different perspective. Cancer is a scary word, and we automatically think of loss. But we must continue to be there and fight with those battling it. Your world may be turned upside down, but eventually you will learn to see the beauty of life and how fragile it is. 

It’s a cliché thing to say “you never know when it is your last day”, but this is a true statement. I never knew I would lose my father at such a young age, and I never thought my mother would get breast cancer. But it has helped me to want to help those who may have experienced a loss, and going through grief. It isn’t easy to live with so much grief, but it shapes you to be a stronger and better person in such an unfortunate way. 

I’m thankful to know I am not in this alone, and there are many supportive people. I thank them for their existence in my life, they know who they are 😊

Check out the few pics from the event!