Monday, April 21, 2008

The Scarf

It was time to get rid of Annette’s clothes. Tom asked if I wanted anything before he got rid of the clothes, so I went through her closet. I often drop in and visit the closet when we go to Tom’s house. I like to look at and touch her clothes and remember. So, I was going through the clothes, taking some things for me to wear, taking some other things as mementos, and feeling OK about things. Some melancholy, (the maid-of-honour dress from my wedding). Some sweet memories, (the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from our fabulous trip to Disneyworld).

Then I came upon the drawer. The second drawer from the top. Inside that drawer were all the head scarves that Annette wore. They stopped me in mid motion, hand left hanging in mid-air. I cursed each and every one as I moved them aside, one by one. I even said, “I hate you.” Like it was the scarves’ fault. Isn’t that a sight? A grown woman telling head scarves, “I hate you.” To me, at that moment, they symbolized her cancer. I felt pure hatred for the scarves.

But later that evening, I got to thinking about the scarves. About their purpose. About what they gave to Annette. About how the soft fabric protected her sweet head from getting cold. About how they provided her with some modesty and comfort in her home. About how she began to feel comfortable enough that she would sometimes wear them in public. The scarves actually provided comfort and security. They served their purpose well. So, in a way, I am grateful for the scarves.

Then I thought more of some “ugly” props in life. Walkers. Canes. Wheelchairs. Hospital beds. Yet they all have their place. Then the ugliest prop of all came to mind.

The cross. Roughly hewn. Crudely nailed or tied together. Shoved into the ground without a foundation, I’m sure. Ugly, like the head scarf. And yet, it has its purpose. A beautiful and grand purpose. The ugly prop, which never was beautiful, also served its purpose. And for that reason I need not hate the head scarf. Or the hospital bed. The walker or cane. Because the ugliest prop of all made all these other things not all that important. The cross made them just that… props.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Kurtis!!

Kurtis is NINE today!!

Your mom and I really enjoyed being pregnant together and having our first babies 3 months apart. We loved to talk and share and compare notes about everything. We shopped and planned and compared names. I remember the day your mom and dad were blessed by your birth. Your mom was sent to the hospital because the doctors thought it was high time you arrived. (I'm not sure how many days "overdue" you were, you'll have to ask your dad). Your mom went into the hospital on the evening of the 17th. Opa, Oma and I were at your mom and dad's house eagerly waiting. I dozed all night long thinking of your mom and dad. We were all very excited to finally meet you after so many months of waiting. The first grandchild!! And you were so handsome (still are!) Your mom was worried about the scratch you received on your cheek from some of the instruments used. But after a short while, she knew that you were fine and that it even made your handsome face even more so!

We are all blessed to have you in our family and in our lives. You are loved very much by us all.
We hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your big day!!

With lots of love,
Aunt Lisa, Uncle Steve, Sara and Connor

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mike's Miracles

Cancer has long reaching, ugly tentacles. No one is spared it touching a life close to them, at some point, at some time.

God has longer reaching, beautiful arms. He wraps us in arms and brings good things from the bad.

I'd like you to meet a very special guy named Mike. Many of you are familiar with his story already. Mike is a 12 year old boy who attends our church and is a student at the school I teach at. He unfortunately has a very rare, aggressive sarcoma (Annette also had sarcoma) and right now is discontinuing treatment. Yet in his most difficult times, he has the foresight to think of others. Future patients who might be in his shoes some day. He has displayed the greatest grace in taking this ugly tentacle and turning it into something for God's glory. I know Annette was often encouraged in her own journey by hearing about Mike's tenacity. Read more about his legacy here and see a video clip of Mike on the local news here.

Mike, you are an example for us all. We are encouraged and inspired by your story.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm Learning...

I'm learning a great deal on my journey, and then again, sometimes I need to be reminded over and over and over again.

I've already learned but keep forgetting that while one moment is very difficult and heavy it doesn't mean I'll feel that way in an hour or tomorrow. I knew that but keep forgetting. Sometime soon, I'll master that one.

I've learned that public mourning is something that has fallen by the wayside in our society and that is not a good thing. We no longer wear black, take time off of our regular tasks/jobs, let the world know we mourn and are in pain. I wonder how I'd look in sackcloth and ashes?? I have learned why public mourning is important. When you share your hurt and pain, people respond with prayer, gestures, hugs, kind words or posts. When people respond, you feel better, you feel loved and cared for and it makes the cloak lighter to bear. It's a neat little chain reaction. Had I not shared my pain on Sunday, I would have missed out on some special moments this week. I feel loved and am loved.

I have learned and felt the power of prayer. I know many people have held me up in prayer this week. You have prayed for my comfort and peace. I know that. I can feel that.

I am learning and I have learned.