This blog post is extremely tough to write for more than one reason. Memories can bring some regrets to the forefront. It can also remind us of loss. But my point in sharing is to remind us to love like there is no tomorrow. I learned this valuable lesson more than once.
I believed with all my heart that I would see God bring healing on earth to my friend Connie. Years earlier I struggled with the loss of someone to breast cancer. I looked up to Carolyn like a second mom. She was a rock and a great source of strength to me as a young mother. I adored her. I struggled with her loss. She was absolutely one of the most faithful Godly women that I’ve known. I could not understand why God would not allow her to continue here on earth ministering to me and to countless others. I questioned God for many years. When faced with my own diagnosis, I didn’t question God. This was a very strange line of thinking, but true. I knew immediately that I was not immune to suffering. Cancer does not discriminate. During my year of treatments, Connie Freeman became a source of encouragement and strength to me. She helped me work on my house. She walked with me at Relay. She became near and dear to me. One year after my diagnosis, she was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I knew immediately, that I would be there every step of the way through her journey. Our children shared the same fears. They were able to support one another just as Connie and I did. She took her regime of treatments and was declared in remission by the end of the treatments. We worked together tirelessly on Relay For Life projects. We formed a Cancer Support Ministry through our church and supported others.
Unfortunately, within 3 years her cancer returned. It returned with a vengeance. This was a devastating time for her and for me. I was celebrating 5 years being cancer free and she was beginning treatment for a recurrence. My heart broke the moment I saw her face at my surprise celebration. How could I possibly celebrate when she was fighting for her life? She even spoke at the reception. She was a brave soul that day. I will never forget that day. Honestly, it was the most emotional day I have ever experienced. It was the day I longed for. It was my target. I would feel healed if I could make it to that mark.
The last day I saw my friend walk – was a few days after my birthday. We shared October birthdays. We exchanged pink ribbon gifts. She came to my office to drop off my gift. She visited a short time and then I helped her walk back to the truck where Danny waited. I never saw her walk again. She deteriorated rapidly. She didn’t give up. She fought and Dr. R. fought for her. He tried every drug and every option available. In the end, we are fighting a battle that has already been won. She knew Jesus. She knew where she would spend eternity. She would be healed. Yet, not the way we would have chosen. Her funeral was the same day we celebrated Christmas at my house. We celebrated loss and life in the same day. It was an awakening to me. To look at my family and know that life is not a guarantee. It was at her funeral that I also spoke to another dear friend for the very last time. Deborah made a point to seek me out to make sure I was ok. She knew how much Connie meant to me and kept in close contact throughout those final days. She wanted to support me. She was a true friend as well. I plan to finish this post…but not today. My heart is heavy today. Today, cancer is hurting another friend and another and many many more. I need to pray without ceasing today. But I need to remember those that I love and those that I loved. If you want to share a prayer request in my comments, please do. If you want to share a memory of Connie, please do. I would love to hear from others.
Love to all,
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