From an article originally posted May 30, 2013…
One cannot know how they will face cancer. The sick nights and long days in anguish fighting for a good attitude for the people you love living next to you as you struggle. The stupor of drugs and pain is exhaustingly long. When we started this journey, we knew we needed help to navigate this mine field. We knew we needed the kids to be supported in a gentle, loving way. This was going to break us all.
I have known Mickey since I was 17 years old. I was a hurting, broken teen confused and new to my faith. The minute I met her and her children, I knew I wanted to be in her life. To know Mickey is to know you are invited, welcome. Her door was always open, and she met me toe to toe with her love to talk. I have always felt important, loved, and cared for by her. I remember in college Mickey caught wind that I was struggling. She drove down to Bloomington and took me camping.
When I started treatment, Mickey was in the thick of wedding planning and preparation for her sweet daughter. We had told her we wanted her to come, but knew her schedule was full. Over full. I will not forget when she texted us back. She said she needed two weeks to recover, but she wanted to stay for 5 weeks. It was so humbling. First, we didn’t know how to receive such a gift. Who gives that much of their life to us? Mickey, that’s who. And her guy Kim gives just as much in letting her come. She came before my third treatment, and it was the perfect time. We had had a lot of in and out, and having her for 5 weeks was a gift. We were in the dark middle days of treatment. we could not see the end. Weary doesn’t describe it. She came in with gentle joy, and she told us she would do anything except discipline our children. That was such a gift.
Our kids were weary in their own way, and they simply needed love. All of our character flaws were showing, and we all desperately wanted someone to love us even in our ugly.
Through radiation, I thought I could tough it through. I was tired and in pain, but it was manageable. But I wasn’t looking at my guy. He kept suggesting we call in help, but I was stubborn and trying to be a toughie. What I wasn’t seeing was how exhausted Jason was. Once I came to, I suggested he call Mickey. My sister wanted so badly to be here, but she was in the thick of end-of-year activities with her girls, and it just didn’t work. She offered to help me get Mickey here. Jason made the call. He came home and said he almost wept when she said she would come. We were hoping for a week. She gave us three. What a gift.
Today is our last full day with this grace gift. Today this gift also turns 60. We will celebrate surrounded by the many people that have come to love her in this town. Jason and I really want to lock her in the basement and keep her hostage forever. But we know we have not deserved the two months of her life she has given us. The kids are in full card-making mode. The sun is shining, and it’s time to party. Words fail me, dear friend. Thank you for walking with me in my darkest hour.
I love you, dear one. I don’t want you to leave us; you helped us see the joy in our day. You pointed us to kindness with our children. You helped us say yes more to the requests of our young tween. You cleaned the kitchen countless times. You helped throw a party, joined me when I couldn’t do anything but sit. You welcomed young mothers into your fold. You laughed when our kids chose chips and dip for breakfast and cereal for dinner. You showed us where the battle was and where the battle wasn’t. Community surrounds you, and I’m so blessed to be counted as part of that community. You love big, you love well, and you love always. I’m so thankful you took me into your family all those years ago. Happy 60th.
Thank you, Jen, for the beautiful pictures.