In 2018, my niece Mary Catherine told me about a song that lifted her spirits in the most overwhelming moments of her 2-year struggle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia: O’Lord by Lauren Daigle. I added the song to my playlist, and fell in love with it immediately.
Though times it seems
Like I’m coming undone
This walk can often feel lonely
No matter what until this race is won
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
MC stood her ground where hope could be found, indeed. The terrain she traveled from diagnoses to remission was physically and emotionally turbulent, demanding every ounce of fortitude from her small frame at a time in her life when she should have been able to enjoy the carefree days of young adult life.
I listen to this song when I want to sit quietly with my thoughts, filled with an immense gratitude for music that comforts, medicine that heals, prayers that fortify, and friends that care. The place in Mary Catherine’s story that I now want to spend some time is the space that holds all of the blessings: the people who were there for the Hydrick family in ways large and small, the stories which hover in my heart when I hear Lauren Daigle’s resonant voice.
I think of the doctor who visited the Hydricks at 9:30 at night, giving them hope in their worst possible moment. I think of the Lexus customer who stopped by my office and told me about her young son, who always hated school until he had MC for a teacher, and who prayed for her healing every night. I recall the fundraiser we attended at the school where MC taught, a fun run with families of students, people who love the Hydricks, including friends of mine from Lexus.
Throughout Mary Catherine’s ordeal, these friends asked about her daily, offering prayers and support in any way available. They still ask how MC is doing, they attend and support every event, from the school fun run to the annual fundraiser for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The time, prayers, donations, words of encouragement were enduring, unfailing, and inspiring. When someone is there for your loved ones without question, without hesitation, there lies the love, and in that love is what I consider to be the poetry of life.
David Carradine said: “If you cannot be a poet, be the poem”. We may not have Lauren Daigle’s gift for words and melody, but we have the gift for action born of love. For the past 2 years, that action has sprung to life as many Mary Catherine fans support “TEAM MC” in the Light the Night Walk for LLS. On October 2nd, Mary Catherine Hydrick will be the honored hero for the 2020 CSRA Light the Night Walk, and I have no doubt that the poetry will blossom once again.
I am reading a book by Amanda Palmer called The Art of Asking; in it, she explains that “asking for help with gratitude says we have the power to help each other”. In asking for support, we allow people to connect to us in a more profound way. In responding to those requests, we say to the person: “I see you.” It is acknowledgement, it is understanding, it is solidarity.
It is in this spirit that I ask everyone I know to help me. My dream is to honor Mary Catherine’s victory and her role as honored hero by blasting the roof off of the $5,000 goal we have set for Team MC. For every gift, prayer, gesture and compassion for MC-past and future-I say to you: Thank you for being the poem. I see you.