By Marsha M. Brown
SINCERELY…WE THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEART. Thank you everybody for your prayers…your love…your support…your help…and your time. Thank you for the monetary gifts you have shared with us over these last few weeks…for your visits to our home, for your phone calls, emails and texts’. Thank your for the delicious meals and desserts you have prepared and delivered. Thank you for the hours you put into the benefit you hosted and sponsored for us on Saturday, March 26th and for all of the kindness and generosities you have shown to us since then. We will never, ever be able to adequately express what you have meant to us during this trying time in our lives.
During the last week of February my husband and ‘sweetie pie’ Billy Brown received word that a MRI of his brain revealed an intruder…a tumor…and as it turned out the tumor was positioned so that it could not be removed…and that it was cancer. After we heard those words, we were shocked, and then we grieved of the news and after crying a lot together and alone, we talked to our children, our Pastor, other family members and close friends. The words that no one wants to associate with someone they love were spoken over and over and with each delivery of the bad news, more heartache and disbelief ensued.
Billy had only recently shown problems remembering things like codes to his bank card, the keyless entry to our car and that sort of thing. He had headaches…but they were not debilitating or anything that would seem much out of the ordinary…then, boom…everything changed.
When a family hears news like this, you pray and you summons all the prayers that everyone you know and love can speak in your loved ones behalf. You consider that each time you speak the ‘news’ the information becomes more and more real and while you’re hoping and praying…you begin to face the reality of the situation. Then, you collect your thoughts; wipe the tears that steadily flow and you thank God… for the life and time you’ve shared together. You thank Him for the love and concern of others who cry with you. You begin also to think about how you can use the rest of your life for the good of others with heartfelt gratitude for hope, medicine, good doctors and faith…you pray you’ll get through it.
Once the news spreads throughout your church, neighborhood, workplace and community you see the genuine concern and love that others have for your family and the support of those around you lift you up and give you courage. One of our veteran friends, Steve K. wrote a short note to me once he heard…it simply said, “Marsha, there are no words.” His personal response to the news was brief but spot on. I’ll never forget his response because it encompassed exactly how Billy felt as the patient and how I felt as his wife of almost 48 years. Since that email from our friend, a lot has taken place.
On Saturday, March 26th family and friends hosted a benefit for Billy and I – the success of which overwhelmed us. It was held at the Manteo First Assembly Youth House and based on the BBQ plate donations, 450 caring, loving people came or contributed that day to help their friend. Literally hundreds of people who were there signed a sheet of paper acknowledging their attendance and support…their love…and to share their prayers. The majority of folks were local but many came from Ocracoke, Elizabeth City, Edenton, Currituck and beyond. Hugs were abundant and kisses too from all ages and all walks of life and the event was a day that will touch our lives as long as we live. Again…we thank you. It is impossible to know who all bought the BBQ dinner tickets but just know that we thank you and that we love you too.
Though Billy was being scheduled for the second time to have a brain biopsy following the benefit…it too was cancelled immediately following his unexpected hospitalization at Outer Banks Hospital on March 31st for blood clots in his lungs, arteries to his lungs and after being prescribed a blood thinner which again complicated the anticipated surgery. He is also now on oxygen 24/7. Please continue to pray…prayers are powerful and there is not doubt in our minds that your prayers have made significant, beneficial changes to Billy’s life already.
As of this writing today (Thursday, April 7th) we will consult with chemo and radiation doctors and seek a second opinion at Duke just in case there is something…anything…we don’t already know that could help. In the meantime, each day and each moment is precious and with the help of our children Bill and Bonnie, the veteran community and all of you, we feel the love and it is helping…so again, thank you all.
Billy has said that no matter what, he wants me to continue to write GIG LINE weekly, just as I have for the last several years…and I will…and just know that still…he is taking every opportunity presented to him through medical contacts, patients in the waiting rooms, hospital staff etc. to promote Vietnam veterans to get an Agent Orange Screening appointment or to call Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veterans Service Officer (252) 475-5604 to determine potential veteran health care and benefits. He also encourages that local veterans acquire their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card for business discounts. Billy asked me to tell you that with our being at home much of the time now, he’d like to issue your I. D. Card right here and to call us if you would like to get yours at my cell: (252) 202-2058. If we happen to be out of town for a medical appointment, another veteran will be able to help you in our absence. The love Billy has for his ‘brothers and sisters’ and the commitment we share as a couple to serve our veterans and their families in whatever way we can…will not change.
And folks, please know something else too. We have seen up front and personal the real dedication to a veteran who is hurting from both our local Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and our American Legion Post 26. If you have not yet joined either of these groups, please do so at your earliest convenience. Trust me…when you’re facing life sustaining challenges, the brotherly love between veterans and their value of support, care, love offerings and visits are absolutely priceless. Our local Post(s) need you and you need them. If you would like to join and help build membership, please call us.
Your friendship cannot be measured. Your prayers are being heard and we are better for you having prayed them. Please know that we love you all so very much.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. If you live in Dare County on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, you live amongst the finest…absolutely finest people we know who love and support our veterans. Billy asked me to please tell you all ‘thank you’ for all you have done from him. If you know of a veteran in need or who needs a friend, let us know by calling our numbers listed above or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Stay tuned folks and God bless. Stay tuned.