When my husband Eric was in the Burn Unit of Via Christi Hospital (Wichita, Kansas), someone gave me a shirt with the words “Never Give Up” emblazoned on the front. The shirt made me mad because there were many times when I felt I wouldn’t make it through the day, when I wanted to give up. How could I help my once gorgeous husband deal with such severe facial burns? What words could I speak that would help him? Why was life so unfair to have dealt us such a blow? What did my sweet gentle guy do to deserve this?
But still the words on the shirt remained, and they taunted me to be brave. I wanted to tear the shirt to pieces; I was angry, and I was sad. But as time passed (and for me it took many years), I started to believe in the power of those words. Never give up. Just three little words that helped me go from being a victim to being a survivor.
So I am passing these words on to you. If you believe in them, you will become a survivor too. You have the power and the courage to overcome this terrible tragedy. You will get through this because life is worth living and because you are stronger than you think. Believe in yourself and never give up.
My husband Eric used to say “The way in which we deal with obstacles in our lives reveals our character”. You have the strength within you, but you do not have to deal with it alone. There are those who care; I have enclosed information about some of these people. Reach out to them. And fight. It may be the toughest battle of your life, but you can do it. Never never give up. I care too, and I want to help. Email me anytime and I will write back to you (my address is firstname.lastname@example.org ; please put “Eric baskets” in the subject heading).
On behalf of myself and my daughters Tia and Robin, and in memory of Eric, we would like to give you this little basket of love and hope. It was made possible through the generous contributions of many people and through the Via Christi Hospital Foundation. And in closing, no matter how severe the burns are, no matter what a patient may look like, always remember the following words from the book “The Little Prince”.
Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.
Burn survivors are the most beautiful people in the world. I know.
With caring thoughts,
Carol Fiore and daughters Tia and Robin
A Final Note:
You may be wondering why my family has enclosed the book “The Little Prince” in the Eric Basket you have just received. The story is a wise one with lessons for us all. The author Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot, like Eric. He was a brave man who risked his life to fly and to help his country, and that is how he died. Eric admired him very much.
Many months after Eric’s death, I found a beautiful print of de Saint-Exupery next to his airplane in the Sahara Desert. He is looking up at the sky as a balloon painted with the picture of the Little Prince floats by. I believe Eric had hidden it in the back of the closet because he was going to give it to me as a Christmas present.