Put Up Your Umbrella – Finding Shelter in the Storm of Cancer

Finding Shelter in the Storm of Cancer
Cover by Sherri Newill

“Put Up Your Umbrella” continues to be a work in progress and a labor of love dedicated to the life and death of my daughter, Megan Bosselman.  My girl wanted me to write this book in the hopes that it would help the next person be a better friend to their friend with cancer.

The title goes way back to my college days in the city of New Orleans and my first real boyfriend, Greg Ptacek.  High school was a dateless existence for me.  I still believe that could have been remedied by a good hair stylist and some fashionable eye wear.  However, my naturally curly hair and chubby frame seemed at odds with a 1970’s “Love Story” world of Ali McGraw with her long lean body and silky black hair.  Dang, I hated her.  It will also remain a universal truth that guys want to date the pretty, popular girls, and not the dorky, smart girls.  Smart girls are for cheating off of in advanced algebra and are not first draft for senior prom.

Greg was able to overlook my desperate need for a “What Not to Wear” make-over.  He took me on real dates to charming locations in the New Orleans French Quarter.  We shared not only a love for The Big Easy, but also a love for writing and journalism.  It was an exciting time in my life, of which Greg was a part.

On my 20th birthday, Greg gave me the most fabulous umbrella.  You can read all the details when I finish the book, but for today you should know it remains one of the most memorable gifts of my life.  It wasn’t just an umbrella.  It was a metaphor and life lesson.  I used to tell Megan to Put Up Your Umbrella when she was hoping and praying for something.  In New Orleans you just knew when rain was imminent.  It hovered in the air.  You didn’t have to see it, but you would grab your umbrella knowing it was coming.  That’s really what faith is.  We can’t always see the goodness of God, but it’s coming.

Back Cover by Sherri Newill
It stormed in my life.  There was no stopping the rain for me and my girl, but pouring rain can be softened by the covering of an umbrella.  As I journeyed through Megan’s life and death, friends couldn’t hold back the heartache, but in creative and unique ways they sheltered the blow.  The book is about the unusual and extraordinary sustaining grace of family, friends and strangers in the midst of one of life’s most horrific storms.

I felt prompted to introduce my book today because of a young woman half way across the country that is battling adrenal cancer.  Brooke Thompson’s life  has hung in the balance on more than one occasion, but for today she is struggling with to buy a puppy, or to not buy a puppy.  I know Brooke will make the right decision…but what I want most is that she will have friends that will let her make the right (or wrong) decision.  Tomorrow’s post…”Breathe Again” is one of my favorite chapters in Put Up Your Umbrella.  It confronts the burning question of “How much is that doggie in the window?”  and illustrates how what seems so very impractical can deliver exactly what we need for life and joy.

Saturday, February 27, is my 53rd birthday.  Thank you, Greg Ptacek, for knowing I’d need an umbrella.  And thank you, Bill and Penny Fattig, for knowing I’d need a dog.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for the “thanks”, Valerie. I love the way you express yourself and am anxiously awaiting your book about our Angel, Megan.

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain