Tough cookies

So this journey took an unexpected turn when my lovely friend, Laura, left this world unexpectedly. You can read about her HERE. She was battling cervical cancer like a real badass when suddenly the cancer just went out of control. A little while in the hospital, docs trying hard to stop it or slow it down. But it was her time. She knew it. Posted on Facebook shortly before that she guessed her number had been called. That she loves us all to the moon and back. And then she was gone. I still can’t believe it. The very toughest of cookies.  

But it is true. And somehow our lives must move forward. Granted, I feel like sitting down on the path and crossing my arms like a small child denied some lovely thing. No. I’m not going. It’s simply too difficult. And it’s certainly not fair. But…I must.

There is simply no way but forward.

This thought occurred to me recently as they popped the needle into Mort the Port to take some blood and, as they do every three weeks, make sure I didn’t go ahead and get myself knocked up between three weeks ago and now. (What do they think is going ON in my house?? I must look very, verrray sexy to them.)

Or maybe Kevin does.

So, I can’t just sit down and languish until the vultures come for me. There is no way but forward. This thought keeps coming into my head. Maybe it’s just a sensible notion. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit nudging me along. Maybe Laura sent me that wisp of a thought that swirled its way through the clouds and rainbows, as she left this world, making its way toward me as she came into God’s glorious presence. Whatever brought it to me, it’s true. Forward is the way.

People tell me they admire my strength.  That I’m a proverbial Tough Cookie.  Am I?  I’m never quite sure how to take that because 1. I’m leaning real hard on God right now.  2. I’m not exactly doing this alone – I’m so crazy blessed to have the best army of food-makers, child-watchers, juice-deliverers, jewelry-senders, scarf-givers, flower-bringers and prayer warriors in all the land! 3. I do feel angry, sad and a sense of disbelief at times.  (I just choose to usher those emotions out the door after a short but meaningful visit.). Now, on the other hand, I’m also motivated, persistent and stubborn as a grumpy mule.  

So when someone says that to me, I am filled with conflicting emotions and corresponding potential responses:  “Thanks!  No I’m not.  I’m actually very sad and tired today.  Me?  Strong?  Thanks for noticing.  You’re nuts.  I’m strong because of people like you helping me.  I am strong aren’t I?  I’m not strong – just a little crazy.  I’m a total badass.  I’m as strong as a newborn kitten.  I’m a fraud!  Its all God – I’m nothing without Him. I am pretty awesome, huh?  I can’t believe I have this many people fooled.  Bring it on, Cancer!  I should really be wearing actual red Wonder Woman boots.  It’s because of all the prayers.  I’m hungry – maybe you’d like to help me be strong by making me a vegan-paleo-gluten free-organic-nonGMO sandwich?”

Chemo sucks.  (How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.) Friends leaving this world too soon is the worst – There is a Laura shaped space in my heart that will always feel empty.  Cancer is a mean, nasty, violent thing.  But there is no way but forward.  There is no way to be but strong.  Not because anyone can do it alone or because we’re looking to impress anyone.  I’m not talking about ACTING strong.  I’m saying let’s BE strong.  Strong is admitting you’re weak and need help.  Strong is going to work even though you don’t feel quite right – because you are ok with looking less than your best.  Strong is also staying home because Lord knows the world goes on without us.  Strong is striving hard but knowing when to let someone else carry you for a bit.  Strong is laughing at the absurdity of it all.  Strong is knowing, 1. without God, we’re totally screwed and 2. that it takes a lifetime to begin to grasp His infinite goodness.  Strong is having perspective that is not limited to today’s pain and tomorrow’s fears.  Rather fix your eyes on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary; what is unseen is eternal.

Forward is the way.  Strong is the way.  God is the way.  

One Reply to “Tough cookies”

  1. Donna Riggs here, Jessi. I lived with my mom in her apartment for a few months while she was battling colon C. One night when I helped her to bed she seemed unusually frightened. I kissed her goodnight and went to my room feeling quite helpless. A few minutes later I felt compelled to go back to her with a word from the Lord. "Mom, you need to praise the Lord in the midst of this according to Psalm 103:1. 'Bless the Lord, o my soul, and ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME bless His holy name.'" "Ok, cancer. As long as you're within me, you're gonna praise the name of the Lord!" At first she looked at me like I was crazy, but then resolve set in. "Yeah!" she said. She also — at age 89– memorized Psalm 27 and said it out loud whenever she was facing scary times. She, like you, was one tough cookie. :o)

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