November 22, 2006 Edition

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Thanksgiving 2006
for what am I thankful

By Jane Jarboe
Guest Writer

(Jane Jarboe wrote the following after assigning her students a project to write about the things for which they were thankful. She teaches at Walnut Ridge High School.)

The past nine and one-half months have been extremely grueling for my family.

My son, Richard, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in early February. He has been fighting this disease very gallantly. I remember three years ago at this time, I was helping my brother Ronnie fight heart disease. I didn't think life could be any tougher than to watch him suffer and die. I have since learned differently. Yet, I have a lot to be thankful for and wish to express my gratitude.

I am thankful for my parents, Herman and Ruby Nahlen, who always encouraged me to look on the bright side of life and remember that things happen for a reason. I am thankful my parents gave me the wisdom to trust in a Higher Power. I am thankful for all of the members of my family, especially my sister Kathy, my brother Bernard, my sister-in-law Nancy, my sisters-in-law Linda and Sarah, and my brothers-in-law Richard and John for their enduring support.

I am thankful for the administration, faculty and staff of Walnut Ridge Public Schools, particularly Charles Lee, Carilyn Rouyer, Brenda Alls, Dianna Medlock, Ginger Bibb, Joyce Rose, Lesa Walter and Sloane Kelley, for their compassion and for extra responsibilities they have assumed in my absence.

I am thankful for the members of the WRHS Class of 2003, especially Alyson Williams, Cory Meadors and Andrea Cole, who raised funds for Richard. He purchased a television as his eyes were frequently blurry and watery during his multitude of radiation treatments to his face.

I am thankful for my students at Walnut Ridge High School, especially my seniors, who have been "real troopers" in my absence and set an excellent example for younger students. I am thankful for all who have done their best to complete assignments in a timely manner. I am thankful for the parents of my students.

I am thankful for the second grade class of Blessed Sacrament School in Jonesboro and their teacher Janice Massey who have adopted Richard to pray for daily. I am thankful for the cards and letters they have sent, but especially their tiny little hands spreading a blanket of prayers on Richard. I am thankful they ask about him daily and question their teacher about his progress.

I am thankful for the employees of Dick's Law Firm and Lawrence County Abstract, but he'll have to write his own letter as I couldn't begin to name all they have done in his absence.

I am thankful for Dr. William Young, MD, who first discovered Richard's tumor in his right nasal cavity, and his nurse Selena Bloodworth. I am tremendously grateful for the knowledge and wisdom of the doctors, nurses, radiologists and all of the staff who work behind the scenes of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital and the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. There are no words to describe the peace of mind that Dr. James Suen, head and neck oncologist, and Dr. Anne-Marie Maddox, medical oncologist, have given me through the weekly procedures and treatments Richard has received since the tumor was removed in March.

If I had to choose only a few people to thank, I could not do so as the acts of kindness and compassion expressed by all of my family and friends cannot be measured or counted. They can only be stored in my heart wherein lies my hope for Richard's complete recovery. I am thankful for all who have tolerated me and allowed me to cry when the grief has rushed in and consumed my heart and soul. I am thankful for the prayers, cards, letters and e-mails from far and wide.

I am most grateful for Richard's courage and his will to live. I am thankful for his spirit, his intelligence, his sense of humor and the responsibility he has taken for his own health care.

I am thankful for my sons, Richard and Aaron. I wish I could take their pain away. To my son, Aaron, I wish I could protect your heart. To my son, Richard, I wish I could take your place and end your suffering. To Kimberly and Jason, thank you for your visits and words of encouragement. To my husband Dick, thank you for carrying me on your shoulders and helping me face my worst fears. When you find yourself trapped in the adversities of life, there can only be one way out. I trust that God will continue to carry us all in his loving hands as we watch Richard regain his health and get his life back.

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