More Beautiful Than Before

My STRENGTH key necklace has been something I have kept near me always over the last few years.

It was given to me when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer at age 7 by a friend. They shared the Giving Keys story with me and told me that someday I would know when it was time to pass it to someone else.

I sat choking back tears at the hospital many nights when my nephew was so sick from chemo he couldn't even lift his head off his pillow. Anytime I wanted to break down, I felt the key against my heart and it reminded me to be strong for him. Something so simple gave me comfort in a way I never thought possible.

Five years later my nephew is a cancer free, healthy 12 year old so I realized that maybe someone in my life needed to be reminded of their own strength more than I. This person is more than just a friend-he helped me through those dark days when my nephew was sick. He was there when I just needed someone to hold onto while I cried. He helped me stay strong for my family when they needed it most and stood by me when I wasn’t a great person. For that, I will be forever thankful.

He is now going through some hard times in his own life. I realize that while I can’t heal him or make his problems disappear, I can pay it forward and give him a reminder of the strength he has.

Sometimes sharing our heart with someone is a risk- pieces are sometimes chipped, cracked or even broken along the way. At one point in our lives, I was responsible for some of the chips/cracks in his and I regret that every day. I hope that keeping this key close will somehow help him piece his heart back together and make it even more beautiful than before by reminding him that he is stronger than he knows.

All the best things in life come with struggle-sometimes just feeling the weight of the key against my skin confirms that my heart beats still and life is good even when it's not easy. I hope it does the same for him.