Friday, February 19, 2010

show us your life...ministry...or a path that you have walked...

over at show us your life...ministry. this post is not really a ministry but a road that i have traveled...
the "C" a word that has had a great impact on my life. not that i have had cancer but have walked the path of cancer with two incredible women. they both lost their battle but along the way taught me more about the person i want and strive to be every day.

the first person is mary. right out of college...i got a job at character counts! nashville and worked with mary. mary was my boss but she was my friend too...she hosted my lingerie shower when i got married, watched me run my first half marathon (she ran along with me cheering for a while too) and loved me as a sister.

she was a dedicated christian and a remarkable woman.

both of our lives changed pretty quickly one day...i took another job in corporate america and left the job with mary. i knew i would miss her but the $$$ was good (but believe me you definitely earned it...long hours!!!) so it was really hard for me to turn it down. the first day on the new job...i get an email from mary saying she did not feel well and was going to go to the doctor. her legs were killing her but she thought it was from the long flight she just got back on from california. she was diagnosed with dvts. very very very lucky to be with us at this point. they could not really figure out the reason for the blood clots so they pretty much said it was due to her birth control. mary went undiagnosed for 3 months. the dvts were caused by cancer.

at the age of 34...mary had stage IV colon cancer.

mary had surgery soon after her diagnosis and they removed part of her colon. after she recovered, she started her chemotherapy. during this time, my job was just a mess! so, my husband and i decided that i would turn in my 2 week notice and try to look for another job. i do believe the Lord was working during this because after my two week notice was about the time mary was diagnosed. her family lived in west virginia...she was the only one here in TN. her mother came to live here but she needed help. so i was the help! i did not return to work till almost the very end of mary's fight. i went to almost every chemotherapy with her, stayed with her to give her mother a break, talked about her fears and death, would go out to eat when she felt like eating, stayed at the hospital with her overnight, and prayed with her constantly for a cure and understanding. the thing was...during this time...

i learned more about myself than anything.

the thing with cancer is...

**you are in a battle with a disease...just like you are in a battle every day with the devil

**while you could remove yourself from the situation and from the possibility of heartbreak from the loss of a loved keep going...just like the Lord does for us each and every day when we sin and remove ourselves from Him.

**and with a win or loss from the disease...your life from the point of diagnosis has a different meaning. your life is totally different...just like when we accept Christ and are baptized. our life is totally different and has a whole new meaning.

mary was a fighter. she so desperately wanted to live. i remember the night the doctor arrived in her hospital room to tell her that there was nothing else they could do. mary hugged fogelberg, who was the then executive director of character counts!, and said we have so much more to do.

the night mary passed. we read scripture with her (psalms 22) and sang songs (one i remember is "it is well"). mary was in and out throughout the night...mary also wanted to know why Jesus was looking in the window. at the moment...of hearing has to hard as it is saying good-bye...mary was going to be okay.

the day after mary passed...i was going to start a new beginning...a new normal.

mary is in the back. she went to honduras over spring break to teach the six pillars of character to the children and teachers.

the next person that walked the path of the "c" word was my aunt linda. she was diagnosed with lung cancer and lived for almost 7 months after her diagnosis. she was one strong lady. i have never meant someone that has so much determination. during her journey, we had a lot of fun. we would visit with her about every week. we got gigi cupcakes numerous times, went to the wig store, and got our fair share of starbucks.

one thing is for sure...aunt linda was not a kid person but she loved quinn...and quinn loved her.

the day that aunt linda passed...i had a hard time with God. our prayer the whole time was for her to not suffer...and she was suffering. i prayed hard for God to just go ahead and take her. i was praying for the, why couldn't God just do it. i was not asking for a miracle. i was asking for the worst. i had a hard time on my way home that night.

i talked to my mom later and she reminded me...

that God did not create cancer

that God did not create suffering

that our God is a compassionate God

if He created these things and was not a compassionate God...
then we would have a hard time worshipping Him. very true!
and the day after aunt linda passed...again, i started a new beginning...a new normal.

aunt linda with quinn at 8 months

quinn's painting to aunt linda.

one thing is for sure...both of these ladies' lives were definitely cut short but i am so thankful for the life lessons that they taught me while they were here with us.

this story is for those that are walking the path of the "C" word with a family member or friend...during those hard times...always remember that God is right there beside you holding your hand. it is one difficult matter the outcome.


  1. We lost a dear, best friend who wasw 34 to Cancer on 9/28/05. We miss him each and everyday. We truly understand your walk. We will pray for strength for the journey for all of us. Thank you for your beautiful post!

  2. Don't you always wish you could take a post back when you have a typo? :)

  3. tabitha, this is a precious post.... thank you for sharing these stories. i know these ladies LOVED you and you were such a blessing to them. you are such a giver....a giver of your time, your love, your friendship. and that means more to others than anything.
    much love~mary eliz