Frank Bosson: Genevieve’s Courage

In Memorial


When she first told me “I have breast cancer” – we were both silent for what seemed like an eternity. I think she could hear me struggling and she reassured me saying “we can beat this!” Genevieve was more than just my sister – she had been a caring voice when I myself struggled with my own medical; issues and depression. My family mostly deserted me but she never let me feel like an outsider. She was encouraging and comforting and she was my strength. It was my turn now. For the next year and a half as she went through a radical mastectomy and grueling Chemo treatments that physically dismantled her and changed her inside and out, we made the promise to talk to one another every night – even if it was just to say “I love you”. She was in charge of a well respected breast cancer facility and the irony was not lost on either one of us. She beat the cancer back that time but it would rear it’s grisly head from time to time throughout the next fifteen years. Ultimately her last flare-up just became one medical issue after another. Throughout the entire time she kept fighting, working, being the wonderful mom she was for her children and being the amazing sister to our entire family. One of the last time’s we would ever be together would be in the Presbyterian Hospital in NYC where she was receiving the most wonderful and truly inspiring care. She was in and out of real consciousness for most of the weekend but the hospital was kind enough to let me sleep right in the room. So, whenever Gen was awake, I was awake – whenever Gen felt like speaking or listening, I was there to listen or talk. She passed in the fall a couple years ago surrounded by family and friends and there were plenty of those on both sides of the isle. She was such a marvelous human being, such a beautiful human (inside and out) and one of the few people in my life who loved me unconditionally. If you are a caregiver, supporter or a family member I encourage you to get involved and stay involved – sometimes the road for cancer can be stark, lonely and cold. You may never hear them, say what I heard Gen say “You are my brother and I am so proud of you!” – but in their hearts they appreciate every smile, hug, kiss and tear. Through this event that spanned the better part of 20 years, I learned something amazing about myself -The love we shared was always healing both of us. And I wouldn’t change a thing except to have my baby sister back. Make good use of every moment. Your soul will treasure every touch, word and moment and play back all the good things you made of your new “cancer” relationship each day for the rest of your life.