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Family, its All that Really Matters!

Denise speaks from her own experience. She has had many trials and difficulties in her own life and seeks to help others through theirs.

Our family is our greatest asset.

Our family is our greatest asset.


There is nothing like a crisis to change a person’s perspective on life. When my husband, Dan, went through colon cancer surgery, my world was shaken. I had recently started graduate school and we had purchased our first rental property. Being in the hospital with him brought back memories of all the times I had come face to face with my own or a loved one’s death.

This time, however, things were different. As I watched Dan struggle, I realized how much I had depended upon him in the past. During every crisis we had weathered together, he had been there for me. His presence had been an anchor in my life since the time we were married. What would I do if he were gone? Who would be there for me when he could not? How would I face the cold, cruel world from which he had sheltered me for so long?

Time stood still as these unanswered questions filled my mind and heart. It was not until I heard the same words echoed from the lips of our children that I was able to process through my own feelings, pull myself together and move on. I needed to find strength, and make a plan for my own, and our family’s future.

Family memberIssuesQuestions

My husband

Hospitalization, possible death or future disability

What if he doesn't make it? How do we decide what treatment to use?

Minor children

Daily care and supervision

Who will provide for their needs? Where will they go if we can't be at home?


Confusion of priorities

Why are we going through this? When will it end?


When we are faced with a crisis situation, uncertainty clouds our judgement. For me, the possibility of losing my husband was like being hit by a freight train! I was standing on the tracks staring at the oncoming light and was frozen with fear. I knew that I needed to move, but where and how?

We were dependent upon his income for our survival. Our housing was connected with his employment. If something happened to him, we would be penniless and homeless. This reality did not sink in until I was with one of my daughters and we were talking with the school counselor. She asked if my daughter had any questions. What came out of her mouth shocked me back to reality. She said, "What will happen to me if Dad dies?"

Up to that point, I had been so concerned about myself that I had not given thought to the needs of our children. The counselor assured my daughter that she would not be an orphan, as she would still have me. From that moment on, I realized that the medical people would take care of my husband, and that I needed to be there for my children.

I put a contingency plan into place. We completed the purchase of the rental property where I was attending school. If necessary, I could move the children to live with me there, finish my schooling, and move forward with full-time employment.Our needs would be met.

Even when crisis occurs, it is not the end, rather a new beginning.

Even when crisis occurs, it is not the end, rather a new beginning.


With my husband in the hospital bed, both his and my needs changed. He needed my support, and I could not receive it from him while he was suffering. At first, I tried to be brave, and sacrifice my sleep and comfort to see that I could be there for him.

I was driving back and forth from our home in Ray, a distance of 70 miles from where he and my schooling were in Minot. Our family did the local paper routes, and someone needed to drive the car for the route to be done. With winter upon us, riding bike and walking were not an option.

I thought I could do it. My children needed me and my husband needed me, and I needed my schooling. After just a week, I was exhausted. As I stood in my husband's hospital room and a winter storm was on the horizon, his aunt reminded me that my first priority was to be with my husband. For the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer, my husband put his foot down.

He told me that I did not need to drive back and forth any more. His brother-in-law offered to drive the children on the paper route, and his wife, my husband's sister, would see that they received nourishing meals on a regular basis. As I lay down to rest that night, I slept peacefully for the first time since the crisis had entered our lives.


Just as Steven Curtis Chapman so aptly sings in "Heaven is the Face of a Little Girl," our heaven on earth is within the walls of our own homes. God is our Father, and when we feel close to our family members, we feel close to him. Life becomes precious indeed when we draw loved ones around us while weathering a crisis.

When the life of one that we love dearly is threatened, we automatically turn to God, pleading for his grace and mercy to be with us. We realize that our family is everything we have. There is nothing more important or sacred than the love we have for one another.

Until the storm passes, we may have to leave the comfort of our homes and take up temporary residence somewhere else. Doing so means that our sleeping, eating, and routine habits are interrupted. It is easy to become impatient and get on each other's nerves.

We are like a ship being tossed about by the ocean. We never know what will happen. We could be swept off the deck by a crashing wave, or plunged to a watery grave when the ship takes a sudden nose dive. As a result, we are physically and emotionally exhausted.

If we are not careful, our emotional reservoirs will run dry. We know that this is happening when we start feeling that we do not care anymore, that we just want the crisis to be over. This is a dangerous place to be. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and obtaining emotional support are high priority.

When crisis comes into our lives, we need each other even more profoundly.

When crisis comes into our lives, we need each other even more profoundly.


Even after we get back on solid ground, it takes time for things to develop some normalcy. Much love and patience is required by all members of the family. Adjustments in responsibilities are necessary, especially when the crisis turns into a long-term care situation.

My husband's cancer was a big part of our lives for several years. He went back and forth to his chemotherapy appointments while I completed my schooling. Ironically, we were able to spend more time together as a result of the crisis than we would have otherwise.

We recently celebrated the tenth year since his surgery. He has been free and clear of cancer and the affects of the chemotherapy are just a memory, but the lessons we learned as a family are ongoing. We value each other much more deeply than we ever thought possible.

We thank God for the gift of life each day because we know that at any given moment, things could change. We have talked about our future and have a plan in place, should something happen, we know what we will do.

We cherish each moment that we have with our children and grandchildren because we know that in the end, family is all that really matters.

© 2014 Denise W Anderson


Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on July 23, 2015:

Yes, Charito1962, today's families face many challenges, as you have mentioned. It is imperative that those who still believe in and support the family speak out, otherwise, the opposition will assume that we agree with their point of view! Our society depends upon the unified strength of our marriages and families. I appreciate your comments!

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on July 22, 2015:

Greetings, Ms. Denise! Thank you so much for believing in the family! I perfectly agree that in a time of crisis, family members should stand together and support one another. It really helps!

It's just sad that today, there are many issues undermining the family such as divorce, abortion, and same-sex unions.

I'm glad that you're still one of those who believe in the value of marriage and family life. God will surely bless you all the more despite your trials. All the best!

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on March 25, 2015:

It is interesting what happens when we don't know if a loved one is going to make it, PegCole17. When we don't know how long someone will be here, it is very unsettling to us as human beings. We start questioning our own mortality, and realize that life could end at any moment, no matter who we are. I have a very different perspective having gone through this experience. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your experiences.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 25, 2015:

Family crisis often brings us to the reality of what really and truly matters. Your story is important for each of us to remember every day, in sickness and in health. I'm so glad that your husband is there for you.

When my sister was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer it changed a lot of my priorities and woke me up to the finite span of life.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on January 21, 2015:

It is amazing how much we love our family members, no matter what they do! We used to be emergency shelter care foster parents for the local county. We took care of children who had been used and abused, but no matter what had happened in their past, they still loved their parents and wanted to return to them.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 20, 2015:

family is important t me, regardless of situation even my boy urinate at the door, he is still my baby

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 31, 2014:

You are right, DDE, so often we take our families for granted. We don't realize how important they are to us until they are about to be taken away. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2014:

When one takes life for granted they never see anything until too late. Family is so important and you can always count on family members.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 27, 2014:

Thanks, Teaches. My heart goes out to you in your loss. With the recent death of my own mother-in-law, my husband's cancer incident has come to the forefront of our memories. We realize that our lives are in the hands of God, and that we never know when our time will come. We cherish every moment we have together as a family.

Dianna Mendez on December 26, 2014:

So happy that your husband is still in good health. With the loss of my sister this year, I can agree that one must make sure to appreciate every moment of your life and to share your love with others. Your message is beautiful and I hope many are able to walk forward after reading your words of hope.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2014:

Thanks, maramerce, I appreciate your comment. May you be blessed this holiday season!

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2014:

Thanks, MsDora. You are so right, we are never alone when we have family around us. I guess that selfishness simply comes from looking inward instead of outward. It is so easy to do in a crisis. Our fears leave us feeling that we won't or can't make it given our current circumstances. It is only when we turn to God in faith that we find the peace and comfort that we need. We thank him daily that our lives were spared in this instance.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2014:

That is an interesting thought, lifegate. When we are in the midst of our trials, all we can see is pain and heartache. We don't understand the purpose behind the journey we are called to endure. It usually isn't until after the fact that we realize how much we have grown and progressed. Then we start preparing more for what lies ahead. Thanks for your comments.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2014:

Thanks, Kate. The holidays are much more precious to us when we realize that we won't always have our loved ones around us. The lessons we learn in crisis make our lives that much sweeter. I appreciate you stopping by.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2014:

I'm glad that you found something that would be helpful for you, Eric. I appreciate your comments.

maramerce from United States on December 21, 2014:

Merry Christmas, Denise! You are so right!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 20, 2014:

So happy that your husband made it through and that now you have the memories of God's faithfulness and the togetherness of your family. Your point about being selfish in the struggle is so common; we are never alone in our suffering or in our joy if we have family. Thanks for your inspiration.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 20, 2014:

Hi Denise,

The lessons of life's trials - although when we are in the midst of the trial we don't always see them. thank you for helping us to prepare for whatever the future might hold.

Kate McBride from Donegal Ireland on December 19, 2014:

this is a very hopeful,positive hub Denise-about learning lessons about life from your husband's cancer journey. Have a good Christmas.


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 19, 2014:

What a wonderful hub, filled with great things to ponder and develop in my own life. Thank you

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 19, 2014:

Yes, Clive, he did answer our prayers, and we rejoice in his goodness. When our oldest daughter had leukemia at the age of three, we knew of others who were less fortunate. Hopefully, God heard their pain and pleas as well. We never know when it will be our time to go, that is why each moment on our knees is critical!

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 19, 2014:

Thanks, Carol. Our families are our most important asset, any time of year! Thanks for stopping by!

clivewilliams on December 19, 2014:

my friend, if God answers prayers, he must have heard yours. I felt your pain in your writing and i rejoiced with his cure. Yes, it is sometimes when we are in critical situations, we truly see what is in front of us and what really matters. God bless you and your family.

Success In Life from U.S. on December 18, 2014:

Wonderful Denise, family matters during the holiday season and all through the year!

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 18, 2014:

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate your kind comments.

Denise W Anderson (author) from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 18, 2014:

Thanks, Whidbeywriter. It is tough when those that we love have to go through such difficult experiences! Thank heaven that we have God's grace to help us through, as well as the love of family and friends! I'm glad that your husband is doing well, also.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 18, 2014:

A beautiful message with a very happy ending. Congratulations to your husband, and to your family, for hanging in there, together, and learning to deal with life surrounded by love.

Mary Gaines from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington on December 18, 2014:

Hello, I can certainly relate to everything you just said in this beautiful heartwarming hub. It is so good to hear that your husband is doing better, Praise God. I too can say my husband who went open heart surgery about 7 months ago is doing better, by God's grace we get through those tough times. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and may God Bless you always and your family!!!!!!!

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