Monday, April 20, 2015

I Was Not Prepared

“God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.” - Unknown
I have seen this quote, or a variation of it, for several years now. I tried to find its origin, but failed. I like to think someone like Albert Einstein said this. He was a brilliant man with a deep faith in God.

I often write about “saying yes” before my practical brain has the opportunity to close the gate that is my mouth. My “yes” seems to come when my heart knows it is the right thing to do and my eyes see no barriers. Once I’ve said “yes” I sometimes doubt my abilities, but then I remember this quote. (Don’t get me wrong, I have learned to say “no” when it is appropriate).
When I said “yes” to the Avon Walk in 2010 it did not seem daunting until I started training and planning to go to Houston for the 2011 Walk. I have now walked in four cities and will walk for the fifth time in Boston this year. My goal is to walk in each city where Avon hosts an event. Based on the list of cities, I have two additional walks in my future.
I never doubted saying “yes” to my friend Tina when she needed help with transporting her mother to Boston for cancer treatments. I had the time. I was treated at the same facility so I knew the ropes. As it turned out, every trip into Boston was uneventful. The winter days were sunny and the roads were clear. I never had to drive in a snow storm. Unplanned trips occurred when I was available; at times that I was not normally free. Getting up and leaving my house early was never a chore. Each event, each day with Linda reminded me of God’s grace. It was never difficult for me to do what needed to get done.
At the time my husband lovingly asked if I really wanted to do this. Was I prepared for how this was going to end? I assured him that I was aware of the risks and I knew what I was getting into. And I was prepared, because as our time together progressed I watched Linda deteriorate. I witnessed the tear-filled anger. I watched as her body wasted away. It was clear that she would become one of the 41,000 people in the U.S. who will die of breast cancer this year alone.  
I spent time with Linda less than 24 hours before she died. She appeared to be sleeping and was unresponsive to my greeting, which was new. However, her nurse lovingly assured me that I should talk to her. So I did. I told her about the weather, and that I got a new car that I thought she’d like. I read from the Book of John. I knew she was going to die.
I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared for the devastating heartbreak or the tears. I wasn’t prepared for the loss or helplessness that I would feel. Yet God equipped the called and I know this experience will forever be with me.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


My friend Linda passed away. She died at 12:24 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. I have no words for the grief I feel. Nor do I have any words for the devastating heartbreak that I experienced. I only know that my life has been changed forever. I have no regrets, except that I did not spend enough time with her while she was here. I know that the past 16 months together are important. I know that they have taught me something. I know that my perspective on this disease that is cancer has changed.

What am I going to do with it? It don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know how I can or will take what I’ve learned and translate it into anything.

What I do know is that I would do it all again.

I love you Linda, in a way that I have never loved anyone else. You fought every single day, every single fight. Every new treatment protocol was a new opportunity. You even told me that being in an experiment was important for the next person. But you did not live. You did not achieve remission. You did not reach the Land of NED.

In the end you wanted to see the beauty of heaven where there are snowcapped mountains, and shells along the beach. I read to you from the Book of John. Jesus collected his disciples. He collected you. And you, my friend, taught me Grace.
And yes, I would do it all again. In a heartbeat.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.