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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Red Rover

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Originally published May 25, 2007

This column is reprinted with permission from The Hills Newspapers.

“Red rover, red rover, send him on over.” So go the words to the old schoolyard game we all used to play.  The goal of the game was to create a chain of children so strong nothing could get through.

The death of a friend brings the game to mind.  Although it was probably not apparent to me as a child, I can now see the power of such an image.  Imagine people standing in a line that can never be broken.  With their combined strength, they could protect anything.  Or, in this case, anyone.

I like to imagine such a chain could have prevented Vince Nunno from passing away.  In my mind, I can see Vince’s family and friends lining up to ward off his illness.  On the strength of their hopes alone, it does not seem impossible.

At times, you resort to believing the impossible when someone in your life has an untreatable illness.  It comes from the helplessness you feel in the face of something no one can control. If you can believe, even for a moment, that everything will work out fine, you take back some control.

We all want to believe we are in control of circumstances in our life.  Certainly, that is what we have been taught.  Most of us believe if we try hard enough, we can achieve anything we want.  Sometimes, the challenge of an illness can look the same as other challenges.

All challenges, however, are not equal.  Thinking back on the chain of children in the schoolyard, some points along the chain were tougher to break through than others.  As the game was played, children would run at the chain to try to break it.  It was next to impossible to do if you ran for the biggest, strongest child.  On the other hand, you might be able to break it if a smaller child were there.

Nothing could be done to break Vince’s illness.  Like we learned back in the schoolyard, things are not always equal, and life is not always fair.  Some of us come up against big challenges, while others face smaller ones.

A group of family and friends had the chance to line up for Vince recently.  They gathered to share memories of him.  By doing so, everyone was able to add a link to a larger chain of memories.  If there is strength in numbers, by the end, it was one unbreakable chain.

As I recall the old schoolyard game, it was over when everyone ended up on one side.  When you could not get through the other side’s chain, you became part of it.  The other side welcomed all new additions.

I like to believe Vince has been welcomed in the same way.  The other side now has him.  Our loss is their gain.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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