The Peura Family

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Zachary Peura
7 Months

Christmas 1999

As Christmas approaches and the family traditions which have multiplied over the years loom on the horizon, we anticipate the sending and receiving of cards from friends we have not seen for years but think of fondly. Each year David and I look forward to hearing from those who touched our lives as we grew up, from friends made in our young adult years, and those newly made. In spite of not sending Christmas cards for the past two years, we have not been crossed off lists, or forgotten, it seems.

This year it is a joy to tell you that our lives are once again on an even keel and we are "back on track," leading our normal but busy existence. But it is friends like yourself, who quite possibly did not know the difficulties we faced, to whom our thoughts turn at this holiday season.

There is cause for great rejoicing this year as our son, Brian, will marry a wonderful young woman next May. And part of the planning for this event includes Brianís receiving his MBA from the University of Illinois, Jenís graduation from medical school, and the nuptials - all within a two week period. That they are not worn to a frazzle with all the studying and planning is a tribute to their youth and maturity both.

Jessica, after a ten year hiatus which consisted of looking for herself in the places where she was hiding from who she is, determined that the education which was wasted in her youth is something she now treasures. So she pulled herself up by her bootstraps, matriculated in community college and has now been enrolled as a student at Virginia Tech for the past year and one half, where she earns money by tutoring student athletes in organic chemistry. All this she has done on her own. All her present success is due to the fact that she has hopes and aspirations to succeed. Some bloom early and some bloom late, but we must keep hope alive always.

David, who continues to be active in national subspecialty medical societies as well as a full time Professor of Medicine at UVa, maintains a horrific schedule both at home and traveling. And so we were blind sided in 1997 when cancer entered our lives, causing us not only to slow down, but reassess our values as well.

The word that begins with a capital C hit personally as I underwent a lumpectomy and then two courses of chemotherapy sandwiched around radiation treatments. As our lives slowed down to cope with the changes, our friends and family members sped to support us. And though it was a long haul, we emerged from the trauma not only physically healed but mentally tougher and spiritually opened and renewed. For we had discovered that cancer endured and conquered brought blessings of its own and the word which had previously been so hard to say was now, in fact, easy to speak.

Compassion, love and faithfulness - thatís what itís all about. This year we celebrated thirty years of marriage, underscoring the commitment we have to each other and to our families. We have opened ourselves at last to be able to gratefully receive not only the help of our friends, but their love as well. And although both of our mothers are now elderly and in declining health, we have discovered that it is the ties of family and friendships that bind us together in love.

So in this blessed holiday season when all the earth keeps silent, pausing to listen for that still, small voice that whispers into our souls from eternity, David and I thank you for your friendship and for the tangible symbols of love that continued to come our way though you knew not through what we were going. God bless you...every one!