By Alison Barberi
In early August we said goodbye to our friend, father, brother, uncle and husband. But our story isn’t any different than anyone else who loses a loved one either suddenly or over a period of time. But not having gone through this with a family member before their time, we weren’t sure what to expect, to plan for or to accommodate. But most importantly we weren’t aware of the significant impact living in such a loving, supportive community would have on us all.
As our situation went “viral,” we struggled to keep some privacy as we traveled through the web of appointments, tests, surgeries and therapies. Along the way, we realized that our loved one was too loved by too many others to not share the experience. And along the way, it became obvious that we hadn’t been singled out for any particular reason … or especially because we might be capable in whatever way. Cancer as a disease offers no discrimination. Young, old, in between. Rich, poor, getting by. Ph.D’s, MD’s, teachers and underemployed. Male or female, take your pick. Blessings were counted by us on any particular day.
How many times have you read in this very paper how wonderful this community is? How many times have you experienced it yourself? Whether it’s a nonprofit in need, a church burned to the ground, a family living homeless, a disease taking a child’s childhood away; we step up. We feel the pain, we suffer the agony, we breathe a sigh of relief when something is better even if for a moment.
They say what goes around, comes around. And around. And around. How do we ever give back enough to make up for the glance of understanding, the help and encouragement, the love and prayers.
The introspection that friends and family have shared has been inspiring. Yes, we can show more compassion, we can seek out those without, we can care more for others than ourselves and we can change to make change. Positive, impactful change. But it must not just be lipservice. It has to be practiced and it has to become habit.
It’s difficult for us to think that one person could make such a difference. We are all in love with the thought of him … but we need to continue to be in love with the thought of what he stood for.
We trust that this is what happens for every man or every woman or every child. This is our community. One that continues to go beyond the norm. One that exudes friendship.
As heartwarming as the experience is and as we know it’s inevitable, it’s one we hope none of you falls into any time soon.
“The man who brought joy and respect and love to so many, now brings tears.”
We say goodbye to him but know that it’s only for now and we know that we can do more in his honor and as his legacy.
Greenville Area Community Foundation Director Alison Barberi is a Greenville resident.
The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.