There was a time when everything was simple. There was time when we felt invincible. Even through the toughest times we felt we were on top of the world. Gena was a very optimistic person. She never wanted to give up hope. She did not want anyone else to give up, to never stop hoping, and to always think positively. To her, giving up meant giving up on yourself and that was not acceptable in her mind.
I was there with her at the hospital. Two weeks before she was not feeling the best, her body was aching and I tried to persuade her into going to see the doctor earlier but she just smiled and shrugged it off. Then one day I woke up to her throwing up. I rushed to her side, hearing her cry out in pain. As I tried to comfort her I noticed the blood dripping from her mouth and blood in the trashcan. I rushed her to the hospital. Later that day, the doctors informed us she had Leukemia.
Even through our tears she put a smile on her face and kept assuring me it would be all okay, that we could get through this. I’ve never met a stronger person than her. When I should’ve been the one for her to lean on, she was the one I leaned on through this traumatic event. We spent a couple more weeks in the hospital, but Gena wanted to be home with our family.
Days after we got home Gena got worse, but she kept insisting that if she were to pass away she’d rather die in a place she called home. Her family members came over more often than usual. Her mom and dad were there every day wanting to do anything they could to help. Her sisters would come over to take her mind off of things. Through all of this, I sat back and watched her. I saw that no matter how much pain she was in she had the biggest smile on her face. I noticed that she always wanted to make sure her family was happy.
Throughout the weeks, her hair started to fall out and I could tell she was insecure, but I could not fathom at how beautiful she was, how lucky I was to spend the time that I did with her. On her last days here she wanted to go to the beach. We drove the long 7 hours and once we made it she took her shoes off and started off towards the water. I stood back and watched her take in the world, the beauty of the scene. We sat on the beach and I watched her as she sat there watching the waves crashing into each other. I saw the sadness, the happiness, and the love in her eyes. Wrapping my arm around her, we both watched the beauty of nature at its work.
When we arrived home Gena started to become sicker. I took her to the hospital where we spent 6 hours before she passed away. When the doctors told me, I fell to the ground and cried.
Throughout my lifetime I have never met anyone like her. She had a smile that would brighten up the room. Gena had a way of making people feel better, even when they were down. Her sense of humor made you laugh constantly. The one thing, though, that was absolutely amazing was how big her heart was. She accepted everyone for who they were and wanted everyone to be happy. Gena put everyone else before herself. I am grateful for the time I spent with her. Her life was cut short and if she were here, she’d be living it to its fullest.