Friday, February 20, 2015

don't wait

I don't think I've ever shared it here
but I have another blog.
Well, one I started for someone,
its not "mine" per se,
rather it belongs to a friend
who is battling a recurrence of cancer.
I started it with the intent of it being like a prayer chain.
I didn't know what else to do for her.
She's like Grace Kelly + Martha Stewart + Julia Childs
rolled into one woman.
No joke.
 My cooking skills are not worthy,
her home immaculate,
but writing or a blog?
I got that.
I started it and got my friend Holly Mathis to help me
with the banner since at the time I had just started this
and didn't know how to play around with blog templates. :)
It went live and like the game of six degrees of separation
and thanks to the amazing technology of today
people from all over the world were praying for her.
 
Now my friend is not the type of person to shout things from roof tops.
Me?
I might be that person.
:)
Allegedly.
If I love you I'm gonna tell you.
Sheepishly I took my laptop to her
{me being one of the last hold outs for a smart phone}
and showed her what I had done.
I told her I would never share her name or anything
that could identify her family for privacy's sake.
I told her how much I wanted to do something for her
but didn't know how to help.
I told her that I felt that God put it on my heart to do for her.
I told her it was ok if she wanted me to delete it.
I was open to however she thought best.
I left it with her and told her to talk it over with her husband.
 
Shortly after they decided that they would use it
to share updates with their friends and family.
Her husband now writes the entries and I simply post them.
This was three years ago.
Now I know unfortunately that there are other ways
like caring bridge and other sites to do the same thing.
I say unfortunately because now I have to use two hands
to count my peeps that are battling health issues.
My warrior friends.
All women.
Women are truly warriors aren't they?
There's a reason I'm telling you this I promise.
So earlier this week my friend's husband sent me an update to post.
 I get them on email and my heart stops every time.
She's been living with cancer for three years now.
Fighting it head on with a grace that I've never seen before.
But then again she fights it the way she lives.
Gracefully.
In posting the latest update I have to go through an email address.
Honestly I only check it during the posting process.
Its not really "mine" to check you know?
Normally its friends of my friend volunteering to help in any way.
This week there was one that I didn't know what to do with.
This person didn't mean harm or foul.
But she asked for the real story.
As in should she make a trip to specifically see my friend
"one last time"?
She said she couldn't ask our friend directly
because although they corresponded regularly
my friend never ever not even once mentioned her health trials.
She said she didn't think she could ask her husband directly
because that was just too hard a question to ask.
So she was asking me.
Without knowing it was "me"...I'm just the stranger behind the blog.
I didn't know what to say.
So I sat on it.
 
 I got to thinking about a few summers ago.
It was close to a year after my friend's diagnosis.
We were about to leave on our annual pilgrimage to the south to see my peeps.
I can't remember exactly what was going on
but we knew my friend wasn't doing so well at that time.
My husband, very well meaning, told me that I needed
to go see her before we left.
He was afraid she was going to die while we were gone.
He knew I loved her and he didn't want us leaving
without me having that with her.
He told me to go tell her goodbye.
I drove to our church in tears with my then three year old wild child in tow.
Church staffers were like what in the world just rolled in when they saw me.
I was in search of a minister friend who also knew my friend.
Sorry to say friend so much but I don't want to use real names.
So I find my minister friend.
We go in a room and I lose it completely.
I'm bawling my brains out,
my little one in absolute shock and awe at the sight of me.
I tell my minister I don't want to leave.
I can't say good bye to our friend I tell her.
So I just wont go on my trip.
If I don't go, maybe it won't happen.
I tell her how I bought a book for my friend.
I'd bought one for my mother-in-law the year before.
It was an "all about me" book where you fill in the blanks
and answer questions, kind of like a get to know me book.
I'll spare another long story but in sum it brought
my mother-in-law and I together into what is now
a very beautiful and loving relationship.
It was a gift that brought peace to us both.
I had wanted my friend to have it but not to be offended by the gift of it
but rather for it to be a gift that keeps on giving,
the story of her life so that her future grandchildren would have
her story, in her own handwriting.
I lay my heart on the table in front of my minister.
I put the question to her of whether to give or not give it to our friend.
Together we decided it was a gift of love,
not one of pretending to read the future.
I asked myself if I would regret not giving it to her.
The answer was yes.
I had to do it.

I waited until the last possible moment before we left.
I took it over to their house.
Her husband answered the door and said she was resting.
I knew we were leaving and there wasn't time to come back.
I thrusted the book at him.
He looked at the title.
Perplexed doesn't begin to describe the look on his face.
When I get nervous I ramble.
At super sonic speed too.
Allegedly.
Its just a book I said.
You know.
Like an all about me book.
Ha ha.
Its a silly book.
My mother-in-law just did one.
I got one for myself too.
Got one for y'all too.
Ha ha.
That's me weird nervous giggling by the way.
Secretly inside I'm thinking
please don't think I don't believe in your wife's strength
or in God
or in His plan.
Please don't be mad that this is something I feel compelled to give your wife.
He said thanks and went back inside.
We never talked about it again.
I'm glad it did it though.
I know she has it and if she feels the need she will write her story.
We went on our trip and for two weeks I held my breath.
On the way back to Texas we stopped in Barney, Georgia
and bought a box of the most delicious peaches I've ever had.
We took some to my friends when we got home.
Turns out peaches are her favorite.
:)
Last year as we drove home to Texas from Georgia on I-10
I pointed out the exit where you make a right and go to Barney.
I reminded him that peaches are my friend's favorite.
He kids me about my sense of navigation.
Because it was 140 miles total out of the way.
Its the little things you do for love I said.
This would make her smile.
He rolled his eyes at me and drove the detour.
All 140 miles.
He's a keeper.
Which is why when I got that email earlier this week 
I asked him
how he thought I should respond.
He was like nope, don't go there.
Whatever you say will be said again.
Her husband shares her story not you.
Any details should come from him.
Then he said something so true.
He said no one is promised tomorrow.
If this lady wants to visit she should make the trip,
not because you tell her to,
not because she thinks something will "happen" soon.
He was right and I knew it.
You do something if you feel compelled to do it.
Because your heart is telling you.
If something weighs on you,
won't leave your mind,
you can't shake a feeling,
that's your inner most you talking to you.
You should listen.
He said, yes, she's sick and its bad.
But tomorrow
 she or you or I,
any of us,
could get hit by a car,
have a stroke,
die instantly.
Young or old,
no one is promised tomorrow.
Nobody.
 
Recently a woman I used to run with lost her daughter.
Her daughter was in the prime of her life.
She was living the adventure of a lifetime.
Brave, young, fearless,
a glass not empty or even half way but full if you will
with so much of life to look forward to.
I will not pretend to know what her family is going through.
They were able to donate some of her organs,
knowing that she was a big believer in organ donation.
In this way she will help others to live
and will continue to live on
in the hearts and memories of those who knew her.
 I've been thinking a lot about her.
Weird right?
I didn't know her personally.
I saw her pictures on face book and read stories about her
that her sister and friends shared.
She was beautiful and lovely and well loved.
I think of this young woman and
I just keep saying to myself you just never know.
You just don't.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 


13 comments :

  1. Oh Nancy... I have tears in my eyes. What a wonderful, caring friend you are. I'm with your husband - it's their story. I am going thru a similar situation. My bff in the whole world has ALS and lives thousands of miles away. I talk to her all the time. It's getting harder every day to understand her because her speech is affected. She wants to come and see my house and my new hometown. And I couldn't be more delighted. I offered to go to Chicago, but she said no. She never stays still. But I always wonder if it's the last time I will see her and it always breaks my heart. You are a great friend and you have a very intuitive hubby. All the best...

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  2. Use the good china. Celebrate each day. Hug when you see them, and let them know they are loved. You never know. You just never know.

    We would all be blessed with a friend like you.

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    1. all good reminders :) hope you're well :)

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  3. You married a wise, kind man. He deserves you.

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    1. I definitely did. I wonder every day why God thought so much of me to send him my way :)

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  4. I too had tears in my eyes! You have a gift with words Lady! Thank you for the reminder to be present. You never know when or how fast things can change.

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    1. you're too kind tery. I try to tell myself every day especially when i'm whinjing about something so petty like traffic that I don't have any real problems. hope molly gets to feeling better asap :)

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  5. I read this post when I woke up this morning. I've been thinking about and praying for you and your friend all day. I honestly cannot put how this has touched me into words. Even though I have had the worst "you never know" experience happen 12 years ago, My fiancé was killed by a guy who worked for him just a week after we were engaged. I often forget to live in the moment and tell my loved ones that I love them. I say the words frequently and mean them from the bottom of my heart, but I can't say that my actions always show them. I need to get better at letting go of the stuff that really doesn't matter and being all in for the things that really do matter. You can't control what will happen with your dear friend. We can't control how long any of us have left to live. You can control your actions to help her, those you care about, and yourself make every moment of this life worth living. God bless you, dear Nancy. Thank you so much for the beautiful reminder.

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    1. Dear Moira,
      I'm so sorry for your loss. I am so very sorry. Thank you for your words and for sharing. {{{{hugs}}}}

      Blessings to you,
      Nancy :)

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    2. Thank you, Nancy. I still think about this post; almost every day. It was such an important reminder and the timing was uncanny, just days after the anniversary of his death. I think about it when I catch myself rushing through moments that I should slow down and treasure. At those times I say a prayer for you and your friend. You're a kind soul. Hugs back to you.

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  6. You are a kind and loving lady...and a wonderful friend. I am 61 years old and my husband gave me my favorite Philosophy body wash for Valentine's day. Well, my first thought was to put it up and save it. Save it for what? I use it every single day. No more putting things up and saving things anymore for me. Ha! Oh and I forgot to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Your kindness comes through in everything that you post. I know we would be instant friends if we ever met. BTW...this Tarheel Lady is Maxine.

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    1. Hi Maxine! what a beautiful name :) first of all good on your hubby for buying you such a thoughtful gift and good on you for using it! i'm guilty of the same thing...buying something and then thinking its too good to use...for me this is usually nice tops. i'm the queen of t-shirts. I like them plain jane and as of late all navy blue. weird right? anyway I buy cute tshirts as I see them on sale like from anthro (ok, sale on sale from anthro) or some place then I think oh that's too nice to wear on an ordinary day usually bc i'm afraid my boys will "help" me get it dirty. I need to stop. i'll think of you from now on when I try to stop myself and i'll say Maxine is using her philosophy, just wear the nice shirt :)
      thanks for reading and for your kind words about the blog. sometimes i think about stopping, like who really reads this anyway :) but then nice people like you will say the sweetest things and i know that somebody, somewhere actually IS reading this :) I've "met" so many lovely wonderful people like you and that is why i keep writing because i feel like through it I've widened my sweet circle of friends. thank you :)

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