Re: [MOL] Something to think about. [01946] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] Something to think about.

That was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. Since I joined mol, I have
grown and learned so much from all of you. I do try to express my love and
appreciation of people more than I used to. But although I have grown as a
result of my cancer and this group, I find my friends and acquaintances
have not. They seem embarassed when I compliment them (as many people do)
but I won't let that stop me. You have to learn how to accept love, or a
compliment, as well as give them.

At 11:34 AM 23/10/98 -0700, you wrote:
>To my dear Famil on MOL-cancer,
>A dear friend sent this to me today and I had to pause and reflect.  The 
>story filled my spirit and I wish to offer it to you all with the hope 
>that my message of love and respect is received by each and every one of 
>you.  You have each touched my life in a special way and helped me 
>realize the precious gift that being alive today is! 
>God Bless and have a wonderful weekend.
>Love and peace.
>He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in 
>Morris, Minnesota.  All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark 
>Eklund was one in a million.  Very neat in appearance, but had that 
>happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness 
>Mark talked incessantly.  I had to remind him again and again that 
>talking without permission was not acceptable.  What impressed me so 
>much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him 
>for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!"
>I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became 
>accustomed to hearing it many times a day. One morning my patience was 
>growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a 
>novice-teacher's mistake.  I looked at Mark and said, "If you say one 
>more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!"
>It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking 
>again."  I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but 
>since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on 
>I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my 
>desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking 
>tape.  Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two 
>pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth.  I then 
>returned to the front of the room.
>As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did 
>it!!  I started laughing.  The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's 
>desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, 
>"Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
>At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years 
>flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again.  He was 
>more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen 
>carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in 
>ninth grade as he had in third.
>One Friday, things just didn't feel right.  We had worked hard on a new 
>concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, 
>frustrated with themselves - and edgy with one another.
>I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand.
>So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on 
>two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them 
>to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their 
>classmates and write it down.  It took the remainder of  the class period 
>to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one 
>handed me the papers.  Charlie smiled.
>Mark said, "Thank you  for teaching me, Sister.  Have a good weekend."
>That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet 
>of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. 
>On Monday I gave each student his or her list.  Before long, the entire 
>class was smiling.
>"Really?"  I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to
>anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much." No one ever mentioned 
>those papers in class again.  I never knew if they discussed them after 
>class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had 
>accomplished its purpose.  The students were happy with themselves and 
>one another again.
>That group of students moved on.  Several years later, after I  returned 
>from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, 
>Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip - the weather, my 
>experiences in general.  There was a lull in the conversation.
>Mother gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply says, "Dad?"
>My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something 
>important. "The Eklunds called last night," he began.
>"Really?" I said.  "I haven't heard from them in years.  I wonder
>how Mark is."
>Dad responded quietly.  "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said."The 
>funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend."
>To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told 
>me about Mark.
>I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so 
>handsome, so mature.  All I could think at that moment was, Mark I would 
>give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.
>The church was packed with Mark's friends.  Chuck's sister sang "The 
>Battle Hymn of the Republic."  Why did it have to rain on the day of the 
>funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the 
>usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved 
>Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water.  I 
>was the last one to bless the coffin.  As I stood there, one of the 
>soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me.  "Were you Mark's math 
>teacher?" he asked.  I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. 
>"Mark talked about you a lot," he said.
>After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's 
>farm house for lunch.  Mark's mother and father were there, obviously 
>waiting for me.  "We want to show you something," his father said, taking 
>a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. 
>We thought you might recognize it."
>Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook 
>paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times.  I 
>knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed 
>all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
>"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said.
>"As you can see, Mark treasured it."
>Mark's classmates started to gather around us.  Charlie smiled rather 
>sheepishly and said, "I still have my list.  It's in the top drawer of my 
>desk at home."  Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our 
>wedding album."
>"I have mine too," Marilyn said.  "It's in my diary."
>Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her 
>wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group.  "I carry this 
>with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we 
>all saved our lists."
>That's when I finally sat down and cried.  I cried for Mark and for all 
>his friends who would never see him again.
>The purpose of this letter is to encourage everyone to compliment the 
>people you love and care about.  We often tend to forget the importance 
>of showing our affections and love.  Sometimes the smallest of things, 
>could  mean the most to another.  I am asking you, to please send this 
>letter around and spread the message and encouragement, to express your 
>love and caring by complimenting and being open with communication.  The 
>density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will 
>end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.  So please, I
>beg of you, to tell the people you love and care for, that they are 
>special and important.  Tell them, before it is too late.
>You may find new love or have an old love rekindled.
>If you've received this it is because someone cares for you and it means 
>there is probably at least someone for whom you care. If you're too busy 
>to take the few minutes that it would take right now  to forward this to 
>ten people, would it be the first time you didn't do that little thing 
>that would make a difference in your relationships?
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