They said she lost 30 pounds in two weeks. Seems like a lot. But they said she just stopped eating and drinking. Diarrhea, dysphagia and dehydration took over and the diagnosis was in. Ovarian cancer. No one was sure what stage, but it didn't sound too hopeful.
She was the sister of my friend's sister in law. I didn't know her but once I heard the words, ovarian cancer, I knew she was now my sister, too. I asked plenty of questions and quietly decided that I would find a way to help or to at least encourage, pray and introduce her to hope. But, sadly, it wasn't to be. Within 24 hours of her diagnosis, I learned that this dear woman had slipped into the arms of Jesus because of this wretched, whispering disease - ovarian killer cancer - just two days before Christmas.
When I heard this I wept. I felt guilt. I felt sadness. Why should a sister succumb and I still get to sit around the Christmas tree and gaze upon the beautiful eyes of my children and grandchildren? I wake up every morning three years post battle and resume my activities of daily living? Yes, I know about the stages and the importance of finding it early and treatment and strategies and successful chemo...
So why was my cancer found in the early stage? And why was the chemotherapy I endured deemed successful? Why am I in remission and why is my sister dead?
I am glad I am still here to tell my story. It surely was a blessing that my t
ime was not up (I am not ready [at least in my mind] to cross into glory. I still have a long to-do list.) But when I hear of other women who are afflicted and die according to statistics, I weep and wonder.
Meanwhile I continue to carry the torch of hope. I try my best to tell my story to those who will listen. I also try to listen better to others who want to tell theirs; I pray longer and trust God more. I try to laugh more and care less about silly things. There is plenty of advice out there about how to `live like you were dying.` So that`s my goal these days; because I sort of know what that feels like.
But today, my heart is heavy. I will battle the guilt in my own private way and I will wear teal for you, my sister...in your memory.
Not sure, Mom, if that was you who just made everything - including this lovely sepia picture of you, Grandma Williams, Poppa, Rosemary and me, fall off the wall. You always did have a flair for the dramatic and I remember you telling me often that when you moved on to greener pastures you would find a way to get in touch with me and let me know that you are A-okay. I keep watching the tea cups! Nothing yet. But you sure got Gilles' and my attention a few minutes ago. And not only did the framed photograph go flying, so did the mirrored cabinet, the inukshuk that Laura made for me, the lovely little china ornament that Sue gave me a long time ago, the glass framed picture of Rosemary and her grandbabies, the miniature piano and its wooden stool. Nothing broke. When Gilles and I turned around to look after the spectacular crash - not an iota of glass, mirror, wood or anything else was shattered. The top of the inukshuk fell off, but it wasn't attached anyway. Everything else was intact. We couldn't believe it. That seemed more than a little odd!
As I contemplated the law of physics and the height from which all this fell, it occurred to me. Today would have been your 85th birthday. I am thinking that you were perhaps reminding me not to forget. You always did like reminding us about this special day. You always loved the celebrations, didn't you, Mom?
As I sit here contemplating life, assessing all the pre-Christmas busyness, the wonderful crew who will be appearing on our doorstep, Saturday, the Sunday out of town party and how I really should make a list and check it twice, I suddenly realize once again how very much I miss you.
It's been four and a half years since you went to be with Jesus, Mom. Most days I cope and think of you often. Other times, like now, I am once more reduced to a bubbling little girl who longs for her mommy's arms. Christmas does that to me. I know how you loved Christmas and getting together with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. The quiver is growing, Mom. You would be proud - and ready for a long nap after the big day - "Glad to see them come...but glad to see them leave..." was your 'no beating around the bush' mantra!
Not sure how you celebrate birthdays in heaven but just know that we are thinking of you and praying for you today. Happy Birthday, Mom. All my love Glynis (who is now off to pick up the mess!) xx