We made it through yet another April 3rd, and yet another Maudy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For the past 2 years Holy Week and the anniversary of Shane's passing has been all wrapped up into 1 week. Frankly, I'm thankful for that. I find much comfort in knowing that Jesus took His place on the cross to overcome death. Which gives me great comfort in knowing that the sting of death is gone. This year, however, there has been a new twist added. I am having the unfortunate experience of watching, yet, another dear friend, succumbing to this horrible disease.
She was close to Shane, conducted business with him and while doing so, formed a friendship outside of just knowing him through me. She and I had danced together in elementary school and were friends through school and kept in contact through the years. She was always one of the ones I couldn't wait to see at our annual "girls" Christmas get-together, to see what great purse she was carrying and what exciting things were happening in her crazy life. Then, we started having babies about the same time and I had the great fortune of her sweet little girl being born 1 year before Miss M, so I was on the receiving end of private shopping for second hand clothes. She's one of those friends that you may not talk to for awhile but then when you do see/talk to each other, you pick up right where you left off, always refreshing to be with her. Fortunately or unfortunately, when she was told of her recurrence I had a bit of experience this go around. She is the one that introduced me to the chemo room 5 years ago during her first diagnosis, I remember being intimidated when I first walked in and saw her with her infusions going. Then I remember feeling a little more comfortable when I walked in with Shane for the first time cause I had been there before with her. With this go around, I went to her first treatment with her. Knowing it was going to bring back so many memories but also knowing that God had allowed me to experience cancer in order to do just what I was doing that day with her. I remember us chatting it up because we were both a bit nervous. She mentioned that her and Shane couldn't do anything normal and she mentioned jokingly that their birthdays were exactly 1 day apart. Same year, just 1 day apart. She said, "great---just my luck, hope this doesn't mean I am destined for the same as he." I reassured her that she was fine. I also remember that she was receiving one of the exact drugs that Shane had taken. One with the possibility of severe side effects. Again, we were chatting it up and after the infusion started she mentioned that her throat was warm. I knew that was a reaction and immediately called for the nurse. Sure enough, allergic reaction. She was happy I was there to recognize it before it got really ugly, and I think also, she was a little perturbed at me because of the same thing, she wanted this drug to get rid of this cancer. Again, I was thanking God for letting me have knowledge from my past experience.
Now to present day, I am now wondering if I am thankful for this experience because I know whats next. Different cancer, different circumstances, different struggles, different ways of dealing with it all but looks like the same outcome. All during the same time of year as Shane succumbed to this disease. My experience has allowed me to know what she is feeling, her fears, her thoughts, has also allowed me to know just what to pray with her. We have shared some sweet times that I will forever be thankful for that. I have struggled with me possibly being a reminder of what the outcome may be, but she found comfort, I think in, in knowing I had been through it all. A few weeks ago, she asked me when it was that he passed-I told her and it was just a week before the anniversary-she shook her head in disbelief and the irony of it all. All I could do was reassure her. As I visited with her the past few times, its been harder, much harder, it all brings back so many emotions. Today, however, I knew it was time to pray a prayer similar to the one I prayed with Shane. Asking God for his will to be done. Asking him to give her peace, asking Him for mercy. As I sat with her I caught myself humming one of the songs that was sung at Shane's service...
As sad as I am to watch her leave this world, I want her to run to her Savior, I want her to defeat this disease, I want her to defeat death. She has fought the good fight, she has fought long and hard. She has taught many of us how to fight a battle with dignity, grace and perseverance. Her strength is indescribable. She continues to fight. My prayer tonight is that she won't succumb to this disease, but that she will hear God's beckoning call to run to Him, in turn, leaving all of this behind. I so wish that time allowed me to read to her these verses..."Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking." (MSG John 14:1-4
Some of the same words that ushered Shane into his Saviors arms. As I have so often wanted to say to her, but the time was never right, I wanted to tell her that Jesus is waiting and I know that Shane will be right there with open arms asking what took her so long or jokingly telling her she is late again for an appointment.
Again, surrounded with questions of why her, why now, why this. But trusting my all knowing, all loving, perfect plans of my Father. My heart is heavy for what is to come, but also celebrating what is in store for her.
B----Run to Jesus and Live!!!!
I love you and I'm so thankful that you let me travel this journey with you, you have taught me so much. I'll see you in paradise!!