About Amy R.
Where do you even begin when you wish so strongly, with your whole body, to help someone else? I guess I can just speak from my heart and soul about my dearest friend, Kayla. The story of us started in 4th grade when she showed up to class wearing a dress that I deemed worthy of a costume for an 18th century, colonial era film. This, as you would expect, started our friendship. From there, Kayla’s life took- a turn. Her mother became a pop in character of her life with little to no presence in her upbringing. Kayla’s father stuck by her side through thick and thin. Kayla is the type of small-town Massachusetts girl who clings to tradition and family. Her father was her best friend and they were/are inseparable. Kayla is the beautiful long blonde-haired beauty who loved anything with an engine, any “quad” that could cause death or a jeep with a “sweet lift kit.” I still can’t be sure what that totally means. My point here is that she was her father’s girl. She skipped prom each year so that she could take the money her father Jake, would’ve given her to add “things” to her jeep. I say “things” because I really don’t understand a whole lot about cars (that’s her department). We grew up in a small town where every family knew every single other family. Jake is a well-known, respected and extremely loved man in our home town. I now live in Colorado and it’s hard to get Kayla to visit because she misses her father too much and is worried who will make him a healthy dinner. She is worried something will happen to him.
As small towns usually go- addiction runs through the lifeblood of these towns. Kayla’s father’s drug of choice was alcohol. He was never, ever been anything other than a highly functioning alcoholic who cared so deeply for his daughter. However, the booze took its toll. She was afraid something would happen to him as if she had a sixth sense. Several years ago, he was diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver. Along with liver failure, they found cancer. They were able to successfully remove all the cancer! They let him know that if he ever were to have another drink, he’d die. He quit in that moment, for Kayla. We’ve all been patiently waiting for a liver. On Christmas day, Kayla and her dad received the call. This was it- we were about to start the path to recovery and more importantly, survival. When they went to test Jake’s health, they found more cancer. He was removed from the list. He was given 6 months to live. What do you say to your best friend who has devoted her life to helping her father? To your best friend sobbing into a phone 1,300 miles away. There is absolutely nothing that you can say. Kayla is assuming all her father’s debt, on top of her own. This 29-year-old girl has put her life on hold help her father since the age of 12, and now she is losing her best friend and her entire heart, Jake. As I write this, I think of this sweet woman, my best friend. I think of all that she has done for me and for others over the years, the past she’s experienced and how much I picked on her for worrying about something so unrealistic, losing her father. Here we are. I write to you, as a cry for help. Kayla, as I stated earlier, is about to assume the debt of her father on top of her own debt. This is upwards of $100k dollars. One Hundred Thousand Dollars. Kayla hasn’t even had a chance to fully start her own life because she’s been taking care of her father. She has been driving back and forth from Boston to Western Mass for the past 3 years for hospital visits. Kayla has dropped everything to provide for her father. I don’t think anyone other than the heroes of these stories can understand the sacrifice and selflessness this requires.. The energy required to change bandages, to put on and take off someone else’s socks and shoes because the swelling on their loved one’s body prevents them from doing so. We don’t know the energy it takes to maintain our own lives let alone someone else’s life. Making sure that your loved one eats and eats healthy. The difficulty of maintaining a facade of strength and courage when all you have left is hopelessness and doubt. We can’t know what taking on the burden of finances when you have next to nothing but also maintaining strength to take care of another human, feels like. Finding strength to persevere and push forward. Sometimes when we talk, Kayla just instantly bursts into tears about how hard it is and how she just wants to give up. Kayla has had an incredibly difficult life, she knows full well the difficult times, the hardest moments- the ones that take you to your knees. I’ve never known her to experience anything harder than this. I wish I could do more. I’m writing to you in desperation. I don’t have the means to help her but if I did, I would. I know that our story doesn’t stand out, but I felt so incredibly helpless in this situation. Kayla is hosting a benefit for her father on April 20th, 2019 and we are looking for donated prizes for the attendees. My ultimate hopes and dreams for Kayla is that she’ll raise even a little bit of money to take the burden of finances off during this horrible time as she watches her father fade. Kayla has the biggest heart and I can hear the life and light in her dwindling under the pressure, emotion and thought of losing her father. I know that I can’t pay all her bills because believe me, if I could I would. I would give my life for her and for her father. If my kidney was a match, he’d have it. If I could do anything other than write this letter (and bake cupcakes for the benefit) I’d be doing it. If nothing else, thank you for taking the time to consider our story.