We wait in line for a lot of things in this world, but tonight, I stood in line to pay my respects to a mom and honor her young son who left this world way too soon. Richard and I stood in line for nearly two hours to say goodbye and try to offer some comfort. That’s a long time to reflect. We had only known Justin Yancey for the briefest time. Mere months, and yet he and his mother have touched my life in a way I will never forget. In the midst of battling leukemia, Justin held on to his sense of humor, sweet smile, and love for others. It was very obvious to me tonight that he got those qualities from his mother. He was barely 16 years old.
When we were next in line to speak with her, she looked up and saw us there waiting. She had a smile for us on what must be one of the hardest days of her life. We hugged and spoke of Justin, but she quickly asked about David and how he is doing. In the midst of all that grief, she was asking about my son. She is clearly heartbroken, and yet, strong enough to still love others through her own sorrow. I have had some good examples of strong women in my family, but tonight, I was awed by Kathleen Yancey.
Life is hard. It will try to knock you down. Kathleen showed me that even if you are down, you can pull someone up with you as you stand.
In her honor and in Justin’s memory, I’d like to tell you all about http://www.bethematch.org. It’s the website for the National Bone Marrow Donor registry. I’ve gone there and looked, and it isn’t nearly as scary as I thought. To enter the database, they can do a simple swab. Being a donor is a little more complicated, but the website explains the whole process in easy terms. It saves lives.