Its May 30, 2006 10:12 a.m. My father and I were talking recently and he commented about a little
church that had an intriguing sign. It read ‘Choice not Chance determines one’s destiny.’ It’s an
interesting assertion. A movie I saw last night, written & directed by Woody Allen, called Match
Point proposed the opposite. The narrator repeatedly emphasized the point that Luck plays the most
integral part in all our lives.
I’d like to believe (just for my own sanity) that I am the master of my destiny, but I cannot deny
that many of the choices I’ve been blessed to make resulted from being born into a particular
family, having a certain amount of intelligence and the right environment. None of us start out
equal with the same canvass & paint.
Many years ago I started the Adopt- a- Diamond program. It was a way for me to acknowledge that fate
sometimes unfairly deals people some terrible cards and we need to look out for each other. The
following letter was recently sent by a mother who is incredibly proud of her daughter, the medical
doctor. Not for the choices she has made in her life but how she has played the cards dealt to her by
I am writing to tell you about a special person who deserves a diamond and so much more. Her name is
Cheryl Bryant Bruce. She is my daughter. From the time Cheryl was a child, she has always been a
caring, loving person of people and animals. She always wanted to be a doctor and help people. When
she grew up, after attending college, she entered the Army on a medical scholarship to finance
medical school. She became a doctor.
She married but it didn’t last because of abuse. She had a son and an adopted daughter. She lost
everything and had to try and start over with two young children. She eventually remarried and
had another son who was born terminally ill. Her husband could not cope with the child and left.
She became financially broke and emotionally drained. It was her faith that kept her going. While
she and her children were asleep in the house, someone broke in and stole her wedding rings and a
couple of pieces of nice jewelry she had. One piece was a birthstone ring her dad and I had given her
for graduation. She could not afford to replace anything. Work for Cheryl became a challenge.
She could only accept a job that would allow her to bring her son along because his medical
needs were very extensive. Gregory, her son, lived to be ten years old but he was a baby. He never
walked, talked and was solely dependent on her for everything, feeding, dressing and massive
amounts of medication. He also suffered severe seizures and would stop breathing. During this
time, she was also home schooling her other two children. It made it easier for her financially.
Although she lived in Georgia, she sometimes had to take jobs out of town at different VA Hospitals,
because she could take her children with her, to make ends meet. Although Cheryl had so little,
she was always there to share what she had if someone needed it. Sacrifice became a way of life for
her. Always being tired was also a way of life. Financially they had nothing, but they were a
loving family who had each other and prayed God would grant them better days. She never lost faith.
As Gregory grew older he became sicker. Working became less and the debts mounted sky high. She
is still trying to climb out of that hole. Cheryl moved to California to be closer to me and her dad
so we could give her some help she so desperately needed.
Gregory was in and out of the hospital. His last hospital stay was at Stanford Hospital. He
was released from the hospital to go home and spend his last days with his family. It was the day
before Thanksgiving. One of the nurses she knew, somehow found a Thanksgiving dinner the
supermarket fixes up and brought it over to them. Knowing Gregory would not be there for Christmas,
the fire department that had taken Gregory to the hospital, bought him a Christmas tree. They
took him and his oxygen from the house and sat him in the fire truck and blew the horn for him. He
was made honorary firefighter and given a fire hat. The family celebrated Thanksgiving and
Christmas on Thanksgiving Day.
On November 29, 2003, Cheryl knew her baby was slipping away. She called her other two children in
the room to say their goodbye. She held her son in her arms all that night as he studied her face as
not to forget it. On the morning of November 30, 2003, Gregory took his last breath in the arms of
his mother. She wanted him in her arms so he wouldn’t be alone. A mom, who put her own life on
hold for ten years, is now trying to go on. She’s still struggling financially and
emotionally, but she has faith. She will tell you her baby was not a burden; he was a blessing from
God. He gave Gregory to her because He knew she would love and protect him.
Cheryl has been through so much hardship and still keeps her faith and a smile. I remember her saying,
“God knows your needs; He gives them to you in His time not yours.” I’m asking you to please see
fit to bring her a little happiness from above. She does deserve it so very much.
We all know life is not equitable. The best you can do is improve your odds by the choices you make.
Talk to you next time,