Monday, January 24, 2011

“Near and Dear to My Heart”

Almost 18 months ago, I lost one of my best friends to a resurgence of the breast cancer she had conquered 12 years previous.  Bev was a shining light in my life for many reasons, greatest among them her indomitable spirit that never complained and gave God glory for the gift of her life and whatever the purpose her suffering was to serve.   

For all who knew her, she was a daily inspiration and a reminder to keep life’s ills in perspective.  If ever there was a “wonderful life” it was Bev’s, as our lives were made richer, more humble, and substantially better for how hers so graciously touched ours.  She was known for always saying about her life, “It is God’s will.”  

She made peace with how her health had been affected long before the news arrived that the cancer had returned with a vengeance and it was now in her bones.  And when it was time to go, she was ready, her heart halfway inside Heaven’s gates as she raised her hands in worship to the God she loved and trusted no matter what, while her favorite praise music played in the background of her hospital room. 
My last time with her was the night before she removed her breathing tube herself and surrendered.  She kept writing on a tablet that she is “at peace with God” and “now all was right in the world.” She was ready to go.  I drew close to her so she could read my heart through my eyes, and through choked up tears, I was able to let her know how much I loved her, how much her life has meant to me, and that it was okay to let go now.  Her own eyes smiled back with a glistening of tears, and when I said, “I love you, Bev” she pointed to her heart and then to mine to let me know she loved me too.  I never had any doubt of that as she was a true friend in word and deed, always serving the needs of others and never asking for much help for her own.  She preferred it that way, not wanting anyone to pity her for her physical limitations.

Needless to say, my words are not post-mortem hyperbole.  Ask anyone who knew her, the stories are the same.  Each one of us held such a special place in her heart that each of us felt like we were the most special.  What a gift she left behind for all of us to emulate.

About 5 years ago, I had my own personal scare after finding an unusual lump that gratefully turned out to be fibrocystic and not cancer.  Even so, those few weeks of my life brought me face to face with my own mortality in a way that has forever changed me.  Truly, “our lives are but a breath” as Psalms 39:5 tells us.

While Bev eventually lost her fight with cancer, it was not before winning the fight of her spirit.  It is easier to share about this today than it was even 6 months ago, but still not without the tears welling in my eyes.  I share her story today because I know I am not the only one who has had a Bev in their life.  I have lost other women from my life due to breast cancer and I am blessed to have several women in my life who have been mighty conquerors.  And in recent days, news of yet someone else dear to me being touched by this disease has burdened my heart again.

This brings me to the point of my sharing this: Susan G. Komen’s Walk for the Cure and the special friend in my life who has taken up the challenge in such an inspiring way I just have to tell you all about it.  I met Jim Hillmann when we worked together many years ago.  We have remained dear friends since that time and now he is doing something absolutely amazing to me.  After losing his mother to breast cancer in February of 2004, Jim got involved with the 3-day, 60 mile walks in the Bay Area.  After being inspired from these events, he has decided to try to do all 14 events in 2011.   

I am so blessed by Jim's passion for this worthy cause.  I just have to do all I can to support his efforts because he is walking for you and me.

This past December, John Dugan of the Sunnyvale Sun wrote a wonderful article about Jim and what he is trying to achieve.  Jim has also put together his own website which outlines his story and his goals, and how you can be part of what he is doing to support this effort.

Please take the time to review both the article and his website where he is trying to raise funds for what he calls, “900 Miles – 15 Cities – 1 Cure.”  Whatever you can contribute towards such a worthy cause would be greatly appreciated, even if it comes in the form of passing on this message.  If each one could reach one, imagine what miracles we together could do.

Thank you all from my heart,

Quick Links:
To read Jim’s story:
On Facebook:  900 Miles Closer to a Cure:!/pages/900-Miles-Closer-to-a-Cure/149506038408305

No comments:

Post a Comment