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A Punch In The Gut — By Tommy Purser

You young mothers and fathers out there, listen up.

When I and the good wife were a young father and mother, the precious little baby we were blessed with changed our lives forever for the better.

What a blessing.

What a responsibility.

We worked hard, the good wife and I, to meet the expectations of being good parents.  And after more than a half century of being parents, we are extremely proud of the young ….. relatively young ….. offspring we have carefully guided into adulthood.

Of course, we’re no longer guiding our three children. They have long been on their own to test the waters of a tumultuous sea of awesome responsibility of their own. And the good wife and I have been blessed by the fact that two of our three children have nurtured children of their own, most of whom are already grown. And we are so proud of the job they have done and continue to do with their children.

One of our children, our first precious little baby we were blessed with, along with her husband, decided long ago that children did not necessarily need to be a part of their future. The good wife and I supported and continue to support that decision, wholeheartedly. They are a happy, contented, successful couple who are immensely satisfied with the life they have created together.

But, awhile back, that life was shattered with uncertainty — fear — concern — doubts about how much longer their wonderful life would continue.

Laura, my precious firstborn, who I love and cherish, a woman who has worked so hard, so diligently to carve out her niche in the world, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was a punch to the gut.

The good wife dissolved into tears, as did Laura. They, along with our son-in-law Paul, were devastated by the news.

Oddly, I was not devastated. I was confident that the medical community was well prepared to deal with this awful disease. I knew, deep down inside, that Laura would survive. I was convinced of it.

As the Chief Financial Officer at Memorial Health in Savannah, she has seen for years the miracles good doctors and hospitals perform. The dedication medical professionals have for treating the sick, for whatever diseases or maladies they encounter should be a source of comfort for all who seek their help in what, sometimes, is their darkest hours.

It has been more than a year now since Laura was first diagnosed with breast cancer. One thing about the situation that so encouraged me was the fact that Laura had, for years, religiously adhered to a schedule for annual mammograms. I knew in my heart, that the medical professionals in whose hands Laura placed her trust, had discovered her breast cancer early.

I was convinced she would survive this battle.

She would win.

And after months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, a regimen that resulted in the loss of her beautiful blonde locks of hair — even her eyebrows and eyelashes — she is well on the way to full recovery.

And her hair is coming back. Not blonde but dark brown.

No matter. She still has those beautiful, huge blue-green eyes that I’ve always looked at with pride. She got my eyes. And she’s beautiful. And I’m so proud that my little angel has my eyes.

But back to you young mothers and fathers out there. You mothers need to get regular mammograms and you fathers need to insist on it.

One day, your precious children will thank you for your efforts to stay around to be an important part of your lives.  And, if you have daughters, you will want them to have regular mammograms as well, so you can hold them and love them for a long time.

Trust me. I know.

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