John R. Davis’ story: The Banana Bread Man

My partner Jack and I first encountered Lanette nearly three weeks after his first brain surgery in October 2004. In fact, it was a Thursday evening October 21, 2004 when she called our home to introduce herself and offer her support as a brain tumor survivor. Those days leading up to that weekend are burned into my memory as within 36 hours of talking to Lanette on that Thursday evening Jack would suffer a stroke and nearly die.

We really did not meet Lanette in person for another two weeks when she visited Jack in the hospital. At the time of that first meeting Jack was not only the victim of a malignant brain tumor he was also blind because of the stroke he had suffer two weeks earlier. Jack would never physically see Lanette but he would feel her kindness, compassion and caring during the final months of his life.

Lanette was a faithful visitor to Jack’s hospital bed during two extended hospital stays in 2004 and 2005 and she was a visitor to our home to bolster his spirits and offer words of encouragement. She even stayed over night with us one evening and helped me care for Jack. That was in the spring of 2005 as Jack was physically losing control of his left side, his mind filled with delusions and his time with us running out.

This stranger had entered our life and offered something that others could not – an understanding and knowledge of where she had previously been, emotionally, and where we currently were.

Within months Jack was dead, however that did not end my relationship with Lanette, which had begun 10 months earlier with a phone conversation in October of the previous year. Over the course of the next three years since Jack’s death, and continuing even today, she offers me emotional help, understanding, caring, and words of compassion that other friends I have known for years are incapable of providing.

Lanette is a true friend of mine. I can always count on her support and loving spirit because she has walked the path My Jack walked and she knows the depth of my loss. When I think of Lanette, I think of hope and the words of Emily Dickinson, who said,

Hope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

I hope that through these words others can understand the beauty that is – Lanette.

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