Went to my brother's this evening for family Christmas Eve. Everything is topsy turvey this year because my nephew has been in radiation treatment at Mayo for the past 5 weeks, today was his last treatment. He doesn't have cancer, but he does have a brain tumor. A year ago August 31st my dad died. He was buried on September 4th, the 5th we found out about Jay's tumor. He had his first surgery on the 8th, he got married on the 22nd. This past May we had confirmation the problem was recurring and he underwent a second brain surgery in July. By September it was back again. This time Loyola said the only thing they could recommend would be a permanent shunt, which would make his quality of life, at 25 much less. They did say that since Mayo had been involved in countrywide consultations, they'd likely take a referral if asked. They were asked and immediately agreed. After the preliminary testing, they disagreed with Loyola as to the cause of the problem, which in fact allowed that Loyola had been more successful at the surgery than the Loyola team thought. So radiation was suggested and accepted. Tonight I looked at my nephew, 6' and probably 130 pounds. The radiation has taken not only his appetite, but his hair, well about half of it. The scars from the two previous neurosurgeries are evident. He was so tired from the drive, though my brother said he slept most of the ride, yet he tried so hard to make us all feel hopeful. I know my brother is exhausted and full of fear. My sister-in-law, a nurse is less fearful, but very aware of the not so hopeful prognosis. Grace? I used that in the title. Grace is my nephew giving me a purple 'hope' bracelet, from the American Cancer Society. He said, "Aunt K...., I don't have cancer, but most of those I grew close to do." One was a 6 year old boy, with the same type of brain tumor, but malignant. Jay was like, "He's too young, he hasn't had a chance to live." Needless to say, from a 25 year old, he didn't see the irony. He also seemed to bond with a man that was close to his father's and my age, a man with children and a couple grandchildren. Jay is ready to wage a war against cancer, period. When I told him I'd already made a donation to Brain tumor research for Christmas, he was glad, but said he thought it more important that we address cancer in general, that research will 'spill over.' Grace is helping others find the good road, without being self-righteous. I was touched by grace tonight. I got the message about selflessness. There's a gift, without strings, that we can all reach out for. It may be one thing or another, all have different trials; but in my case my example is someone I never would have thought possible or wanted to be a role model, but nonetheless is making me a better person. Christmas is a time of gifts, I hope a year from now things are looking better for my nephew, but I know I'll always remember this Christmas Eve.