Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sweet Feet of a Super Hero

Crystalee wrote the following essay after a summer visit with Aunt Melanie Kau. It's rare to find a woman of such endless love for her family and unbending faith. You see her in this picture five years ago at Thanksgiving with her sweetheart Uncle Jon. He's such an incredible husband. Their positive outlook, even in the face of cancer, inspires us everyday. Kau family, you're always in our prayers.We love you all.

My mom roped me into the art of foot massage. In my elementary years, she’d give me a bottle of lotion and a dry foot, and I’d begin. My younger sister often took the other side, and together we’d make a hilarious game out of finding mama’s ankle nerve – the one that would send her into a momentary spasm of leg nerves. She’d chide us every time, but never turned down a foot rub from her girls. It’s a special bond we have, between loving hands and feet who need them.

That training came in handy yesterday when I rubbed the feet of a real life super hero.

My mom’s sister, my sweet Auntie Melanie, needed a foot rub on our visit yesterday. It was my privilege. It’s been more than a year since she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Number two killer on the cancer list, she’s fought her opponent with the mighty courage of a warrior. The go-getter who always puts her family at the heart of her life, Melanie’s been my role model for years. Although I was an All-State track girl, she would cream me when we ran together, despite the fact she is 20 years my senior. Beloved by everyone who meets her, over 500 neighborhood friends came to support her in a friend-sponsored “Miles for Melanie 5k” race last September.

This past year, the strength of Melanie’s spirit has been refined inside a ravaging body. Her positive attitude, unbending faith, and the intense love both from and for her husband and four beautiful children keeps her going, causing progress to astonish the medical world. When in her presence, I feel I am on hallowed ground.

Melanie’s double dose of radiation has left her body weak. Her legs are so skinny now it’s hard to recognize them as the formerly lean, muscled runner’s legs that carried her through many races. On our visit yesterday in her room, her feet poked out beneath a thick quilt. It’s the middle of July, but engaged in inner battle, circulation to her feet has become a low priority on the bodily checklist. Although her feet are often cold and lined with purple veins, my auntie’s spunk shows in her choice of hot pink toenail polish.

While we spoke, I couldn’t help but reach for those pink toes and start massaging them. This soon led to lotioning, and circular loving touches from heel to sole. She eased contentedly into my hands, letting me help bring circulation to her toes.

“Oh, I will hold on to the memory of you sitting down there at my feet,” she said in her loving way. She says things like that, making you feel like you're made of magic.

Auntie, it is I who remember your sweet feet. Let's see you back on them soon. Love you.

Read Melanie’s remarkable story at

1 comment:

  1. Foot rubs help heal and bring closeness. How I miss Melanie. She is such a wonderful person and a radiant spirit who will influence all of us for the rest of our lives.