To The Girl Whose Dad Is Dying

To The Girl Whose Dad Is Dying

You can still hug him even tighter than the last time
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You begin to fear that one day, you will stop what you are doing and try to think about his laugh. That you will try your hardest to remember the sound of it. You will close your eyes. You’ll picture his smile, his crooked teeth, that dimple in his cheek, but you just won’t be able to hear his laugh. You will feel completely paralyzed with shock. How could you forget the sound of your own fathers laugh? It seems as surreal as not being able to recognize your own face. But you’ve heard the stories, you’ve read the blogs, you’ve seen the movies.

You will be reminded of the inevitability of death everywhere you go. Empty seats don’t look the same anymore, because you know that one day he will be gone and that empty seat will stay empty. That one song he loves wont make you smile, but instead, it will bring tears to your eyes, because you know that one day you, the sound of him singing along with it in the car will just be a distant memory.

You will constantly think about everything he’s going to miss. Your college graduation. Walking you down the aisle on your wedding day. Telling him he is going to be a grandfather . Holding your first child in his arms in the hospital, with tears in his eyes. You’ll think about all of those milestones. You will think about how your children won’t get to meet him and hear that laugh that you still pray you wont forget.

You won’t want to talk about it. If you don’t talk about it, if the words don’t slip from your mouth, then it won’t feel real. You’ll cringe at the words “I’m sorry” and “I’m here for you” and “You’re not alone”, not because they aren’t genuine, but because the more people offer their support, the more you realize you need it.

You’re going to wish you took more pictures together. You will look through your photo albums and cry because there aren’t enough with him. He is the light of your life, he is your hero, and all you have left to remember him by is a couple pictures you took on vacations with your family.

You’re going to wish you laughed more at his stupid jokes, even if they weren’t funny. You’re going to wish you said “I love you” more often. You’re going to regret slamming the door in his face in the seventh grade because of some stupid argument, because you know now that it wasn’t worth it. You’re going to wish you hugged him just a little tighter the last time you saw him, because who knows if it was the last hug you’ll ever get from him. You’re going to regret every single day that you didn’t tell him exactly how much he meant to you and how much you appreciated him.

The thing is, you still have time. You can still tell him you love him, you can still laugh at his stupid jokes, you can still take pictures with him, you can still hug him even tighter than the last time. Make the best of every second you have left with him because it could be the last. Cancer takes away time, something we all take for granted. It tells you that time doesn’t stop for anyone because life comes and goes by the numbers. But the meaning of time is impossible to define until you’ve realized the value of each moment. So take each moment, grab it, and hold on to it. And remember, no matter who tells you otherwise, you will never forget the sound of his laugh.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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