the ‘Family’ preamble: Acting From Love
Kendall F. Person: Hey, Cousin.
Renee Mallory: Hey.
Kendall F. Person: You gave the family quite a scare. With Edward and Tony now gone, you are the oldest of our generation. So glad you made it through and thank you, cousin for sharing your story. What happened?
Renee Mallory: On March 27, 2013 I was diagnosed with spindle cell cancer in the stomach and intestines. I had nine bleeding gist tumors. Surgery was not an option, I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks to get them under control,and a biopsy,to determine how bad it was. Well, I was told there wasn’t a cure and I only had 3 month to live,
Well, they found a drug that hadn’t been tested called GLEEVEC 400 MG. CHEMOTHERAPY everyday for two and half years. My tumors shrunk from golf balls to the size of jellybeans and then, surgery became an option. On January 28, 2015 I went through with it, and they removed all the cancer they could see.
I’m cancer free, but I am still on medication, my gleevec I’ll take it maybe for another two year or the rest of my life. Either way, I’m so grateful, thankful and blessed, I take nothing for granted, God has given me my life back, My family’s support played a major role in my recovery. My husband of 23 years is such an honest, loving man. Goes to church everyday. He’s my rock.
I’m planning on hosting a family reunion this year to bring all of our families together; distant cousin’s, auntie’s uncles, everyone. I’m excited to be able to do this. Besides if I don’t keep us together, who will?
Kendall F. Person: (chuckling) You better not let Aunt Frances hear you say that.
Renee Mallory: Thanks for letting me share my story.Families are everything.
Kendall F. Person: Love you, Cousin.
Renee Mallory: Love you too.
from Denver Colorado
Tan Band feat. Renee Mallory
w/ Bad Decision
and introducing… the Everyday People
from Denver Colorado, Renee Mallory
from Indianapolis Indiana, Jamal Miller
from St. Louis Missouri, Kim Gosselin
“There will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough, but as governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, ‘What is best for Indiana?’ I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana.” – Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, on the approved changes to the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act*
Jamal Miller of Indiana
New is the word I use. My husband and I dated for nearly four years, and will celebrate our first marriage anniversary in May. Like other couples, we have life goals, and things we work together to accomplish – as a team. In passing, we talk about children, although I never imagined, what the family I would build would look like. I didn’t even know I would be gay until I was fourteen, and that minor detail, turned this game of life, into a whole other ballgame.
What I enjoy most about my relationship is that we are everyday average Joes. In each other’s eyes, I’m sure we look like superheroes of sorts, but at the end of the day, it’s the fact that we have each other that keeps us level and ready for the world.The new normal is the life we’re living; but what is normal? My husband is white, I’m black, and that makes us an interracial couple – that happens to be gay.His roots are in southern Indiana, while I’m from the great state of Alaska, with parents that come from rougher areas in Chicago and New Jersey.
We have not experienced any backlash from Governor Pence signing the Religious Freedom Bill, but its presence has caused us to think more about family, and how the world will be by the time we have one of our own. Will our kids be fighting battles because they have two fathers? It’s times like these that keep my father’s voice in my head. “You’ve already got one strike, because you’re a black man, and now you have another strike because you’re gay.”
I’ve never played the race card, and never plan to do so. We will NEVER play the gay card, because we are more than who we love. When it comes to thoughts of our future, we try to live by example; When the time comes, and we do have children of our own, we will teach them about our history as gay men, and everything we – as a community – had to overcome in order to even have the honor of raising children.
My husband and I come from very different places, but we share commonalities within our families. We are the product of people getting over themselves, and taking on the world as one.
Before I was married and bore two sons, I expected to raise a FAMILY like those I had watched on television or read about in books I’d be forever happily married to a tall husband, while hugging a healthy toddler before pre-school began.Then off to share cupcakes of chocolate sponge during my son’s birthday party in kindergarten class. A life with willow trees of green behind the perfect picket fence.
Chronic Conditions altered my imaginary view of Family.
No, my family didn’t have the conventional life that many others do. Yet, we were and still are more fortunate in more ways than I can count. Through ups and downs, hard work and perseverance, plus a tissue tossed in during times of tears, we’re still here.
Yes, we are a family, becoming bigger and better in ways I never dreamed possible. My brain becomes fuzzy at the number of hospital admissions my boys had throughout their lives. Calls made to 911 with seats taken in the back of ambulances holding limp hands while praying for life. Thankfully, the mind protects it from bumpy rides on roads shrouded in fog. Still, I shall never forget the smell of emergency rooms, nor paces of worry down empty halls of cement block walls. In the end they are memories of meaning, allowing me to appreciate every moment of my family.
Raising a child with Chronic Conditions adds tremendous stress to a couple’s marriage. My husband and I were not exceptions. We had fractures. Fissures of guilt and blame. Words of pain. When parents split, the whole of a FAMILY falls to pieces. I thank God for joining our hands through difficult times. HE helped us to see ourselves as a priority, saving our family! How simple to remember the love that brought us together in the first place.The primal desire to raise a family. Health issues never disappear when living with Chronic Conditions. However, we’ve learned to take it one day at a time, thankful for God’s gift of life.
Thanks to technology, my boys, now grown, are able to live healthier lives. Both are happily married and in ways of wonder that only God can predict, we now have four granddaughters, plus an infant grandson holding his own. From hearts beating beneath a checkered shirt, frilly dresses and scented sleepers, love wafts through the air of enchantment so dear.
Family…..No better place I’d rather be.
What does Family mean to You?
Much love to my blood kin, good friends, god son and The Neighborhood Family
Family produced by Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger for The Neighborhood