Meridian Star

December 23, 2012

Grateful for the kindness of others

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Dear family and friends,

    I thought I'd share a few things during this Holy Season about my brother, Joe Farrell, who now has metastatic melanoma, and about the kindness of others.

    I've been pondering over the last year on everything that has happened in Joe's life, as well as mine. It's been filled with weekly trips to UMC, or the Cancer Center, or various other doctors.

    This past year has been extremely bittersweet, painful and beautiful. Joe and I have witnessed quite a few acts of kindness that have left us speechless and eternally grateful. It's truly amazing how God places people in our lives at specific times - usually when we need them the most. And if we're fortunate enough, then we can hopefully give back to them in some way or pay it forward.

    My previous skepticism toward doctors and  humanity, in general, mellowed somewhat after experiencing and witnessing certain ones' efforts, kindness, determination, compassion and faith over the last few years.

    To our doctors and nurses ... there are no words to express our gratitude for all that you have done for us. You're deeply appreciated. Thank you. To all of our family and friends who've called, e-mailed, written, visited, and prayed for Joe and me — thank you.

    For those who have helped Joe on his cabin, clearing Joe's acreage and my acreage, giving us food, watching over Joe's place — thank you. To my friends at the mission who made beautiful prayer quilts for Joe and me — thank you. To all of those who help us keep laughing, and to those who wipe our tears — thank you.

    To Joe's co-workers and supervisors at Hol-Mac — you allowed Joe to work in an environment that made him feel appreciated and respected. You treated Joe with compassion whenever he had to miss work for surgeries and doctors' appointments. You kept him in your prayers and checked on him. Thank you.

    To Mr. Strebeck who owns Strebeck's Sporting Goods and Electronics in Newton — your wonderful store has been a special place for Joe to escape to when he needs it most.

    To Courtney and Thomas [Reed] , and Shannon and Brent [Bolton]  — your love, devotion, and faith have been amazing and so supportive. Your walk with Joe on his journey is such a gift. I'm humbled and honored to be a part of it.

    Just in the last week, by the grace of God, Shannon (Joe's oldest daughter) was able to network through her church (Starkville Calvary Baptist Church) and find a construction contractor who is wanting to volunteer his time, gasoline, labor and manpower to work on the inside of Joe's cabin this saturday through Monday. His name is Jed Davis, and there are no words to express our infinite thanks to him. The time he's using to work on Joe's cabin is time away from his own family right before Christmas. Thank you, Jed, for helping Joe to get one step closer to being able to spend time in his cabin for however long he's able to do so. What a beautiful sacrifice you're making to help a total stranger. You are a reminder that miracles come in all forms, and you have helped make this Christmas a very special and unforgettable one for Joe.

    To Shannon's husband, Brent, for offering his time to help with the construction this weekend — thank you. We also deeply thank the owners of the Montrose Country Store, who have offered to provide free meals on Saturday to  those working on Joe's cabin this weekend. How does one begin to thank so many?

    I've learned a lot about kindness in the last year. I have also learned so much from my wonderful brother, Joe. When anyone asks Joe how he's doing, his honest reply is, "I couldn't be any better." If one asks him how he stays so positive with what he's been through and going through, his reply is, "I win either way. If I live longer, then I get that much more time with my family and friends. If God's ready for me, then I'll get to be with my mom and dad and God. I'm taking nothing but the positive with me."

    If he's asked how he keeps his positive attitude, he replies, "I don't have to carry all of this. God carries it all for me because his shoulders can handle it so much better than mine."

    What a wonderful outlook.

    I wish you all a peaceful, beautiful, and Holy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

— Ruthie Farrell