“You can do nothing, you can dig them out, or you can use chemicals to eliminate them. But chances are, as time goes by, more dandelions will appear.”
That’s what Ron Richards and his wife Sara were told along with the news that her cancer had returned.
That analogy grabbed my attention. While I certainly understand the message, I can’t appreciate it being delivered under such circumstances. However, I definitely wanted to learn more about these two and the story of their family that spans more than twenty years of dealing with Sara’s breast cancer.
The perspective of the Richards’ family story comes strictly from Ron as a man, a husband, a father and a caregiver. Imagine a family life that begins with a high school romance that evolves through college and culminates in a marriage and careers for both of you that are your ideals. Then you are blessed with a wonderful son and life seems idyllic. But then, Sara is diagnosed with breast cancer and nothing will ever be the same.
I don’t want to retell the story here as I could never do it justice but I will tell you that I found it to be a most compelling read and I did not want to put the book down. It truly is the story of the indomitable spirit that not only exudes from Sara and Ron on an individual basis but also combines to create a force that will certainly be needed for them to take on all of the challenges that continually come their way.
I supposed that for the first time I really began to see inside the mind of a spouse who not only stands by his wife and family during a breast cancer journey but also understand all of the other things with which he has to deal at the same time. The pressures that a spouse must endure are almost overwhelming and I haven’t even mentioned that Ron and Sara adopted a special needs child after her initial diagnosis and treatment. Oh, and let’s throw in there that Ron is now a 2x cancer survivor himself.
Ron’s story is one of survival in so many ways but more than that it is truly inspiring. As a 2x breast cancer survivor, I know how my journey was made so much easier because of the love and help and support that I received from my husband. Like Sara, we had the best care from all of the medical professionals but we truly needed the emotional support and help from our spouses.
I appreciate Ron’s sharing with all of us because it provides a look inside of the emotional trauma that caregivers experience. They are the rock for all of those around them but everyone forgets their needs. These are the true heroes in the cancer world but until now, I don’t believe that the real journey of one of these special people has really been so well defined.
Please know that this is not just a book for men whose spouses and families have dealt with breast cancer but one for all men and women to share. Every marriage has a myriad of obstacles and challenges to navigate. This is a tale that shows us all that whatever comes our way, it can be met head on and defeated when we work together. It shows us that love will truly conquer all and as long as we remain true to ourselves, and our commitments to others, we really are successful human beings.
I would like to give my special thanks and gratitude to Ron Richards for showing us all how to “dodge the dandelions”. We now know that it can actually be done as long as we have faith and hope and love in our hearts – and we never give up.