Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Need A Little Help From My Friends


When I was a little girl I knew, without a doubt, that my mother, Karen, was the most beautiful woman in the world. Whether she was working in the garden on a hot July day or scrubbing my carelessly laid tracks of mud off of the floor, no task could tarnish her beauty. I can still recall, with great clarity, the routine of those occasional Saturday evenings when she would prepare to go out on a date with my father .  As soon as the bathroom door closed, with my back against the wall, I would slide to the floor, clutch my knees and wait for the moment when the door would open wide once again. A great waft of perfumed air swiftly escaped out into the hallway, where I had waited patiently just to see her emerge, the essence of her femininity glowing like the warm sun on a spring day.  With the scent of powder and shampoo drifting out over my toes, encompassing my entire being, I drank it all in.  The moment was the essence of my mother - soft, comforting, loving, perfect. Just like her.
Mom with her precious granddaughter, Phebe Marie.
I wasn't just captivated by her outer beauty, though.  Beneath the perfectly tailed dresses and her lipstick framed smile beat the heart of a most generous, sacrificial soul.  She had (and still has) an unassuming way of caring for others, never seeking attention, yet always noticing the needs of those around her.

I remember how, for years, she would take warm dishes of delicious home cooked food to a couple in town who were in great need of assistance.  Sometimes I would go with her when she delivered the meals to them.  I remember feeling nervous as we were invited into their small home, sparsely furnished, refrigerator empty, lights turned down.  I followed my mom closely, as she led the way of compassion, sharing her offerings with a spirit of tenderness, of gentleness. Rex was a quadriplegic, his wife Mary there to care for his every need, as well as working at the local grocer to provide for the two of them.  My mother was always received with great enthusiasm by them both.  She was warm, affectionate, and sincere as she spoke to them about their lives, about their days and what was important to them. The authentic love she shared with them beamed like a brisk light, breaking through the darkness that their hardships and sufferings had imposed upon them, upon their surroundings.

She probably doesn't realize it, but my mother is the reason why I always wanted to be a missionary.

Why, you may be wondering, am I sharing all of this with you?? The reason is because I have a special favor to ask of you. Last week, my mother was given the news that she has breast cancer, and I believe that you, my readers, will honor my request to pray for her.  For me, personally, when I can envision the face of the person whom I'm praying for, or can connect with them in some small way by knowing even just a little of their life story, my prayers for them gain intensity, sincerity and commitment.  This is why I chose to share with you just a little bit about my mom.
The past few days have been a little bit of a blur.  My daily tasks are so mechanical, so robotic, as my heart and mind are completely taken with this new, rough, and difficult course that my mom is trying to navigate. I am angry at the monster she is being asked to fight, and want to be there in every way possible to help her.  In the hours spent contemplating, over piles of dishes and heaps of laundry, the fragility of the body and the mystery of suffering, I have asked the Lord over and over again, what is the purpose of this?? Why do You ask her to carry such a weighty cross?? Because, one thing I do know is that suffering is NEVER in vain.  It has a mission.  It has a purpose.  And beautiful things can come of suffering if we embrace it freely, whole-heartily.

All of the words that I have tried to compose over the phone during conversations with mom seem inferior to what I feel. And, what I feel is this:

Mom...

I do not know why you have cancer.  Only our Father knows.  But, one thing I am certain of, is that within you is a quiet strength, a strength that comes from a Faith that is deeper and stronger than you know, a Faith that will rise up and be a witness of:

COURAGE 
to one who is afraid
HOPE 
to one who feels that their life is not worth living
DEVOTION 
to one who has fallen away from heart of God
SACRIFICE
to one who feels that they have nothing more to give
JOY 
to one who cannot find a reason to smile
PERSEVERANCE 
to one who is ready to give up
COMPASSION 
to one is feels alone

Mom, you will be all of these things to others because that is WHO you are. Only you could take something as relentless and ugly as cancer and turn it into something beautiful.
My mom would never - ever - use the word bad-ass, so I'm going to use it for her!
And, as for you, cancer...
Damn you.
You picked the wrong lady.  You should know better than to mess with my mama. You will lose, you beastly bastard, you will lose.
Finally, for you, my friends, the best friends one could ever ask for...
Thank you for taking the time to be here, to hear my story.  Thank you for praying for my mom, for remembering her as you go about your days, for taking part in the mystery of grace and suffering, of healing and of hope.  I will continue to update mom's progress here, or on the Facebook page.  Please remember my dad in your prayers as well.  He really is a champion of great faith and devotion, too, but I cannot imagine how difficult it is for him to walk through this with the one he holds dearest to his heart.  I believe he would benefit greatly from your remembrance as well.

With all my heart, thank you!!











31 comments:

  1. Oh Susan, God bless you all. How heart-wrenching. Yet, it is such a beautiful piece about your mom and her unwavering faith. You can count on our prayers. I pray that your mom is completely healed, that your family is comforted and that this suffering produces a faith that can withstand anything. So, so sorry.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement! I know that there will be some rough days ahead, but blessings will rise out of this, I know it!

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  2. Susan, you and the rest of your clan will be in our thoughts and prayers!! We love you all! There is a reason God told you to move closer to home.

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    1. Thank you for your love and prayers, Dana!

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  3. Will definitely keep you all in my prayers. What a wonderful mother you have and I can only imagine the pain. For what it is worth, the divine mercy devotion and the short little prayer 'Jesus I trust in You' has and continues to get me through painful times.

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    1. Divine Mercy - YES!! The trust part, is difficult in times like this, but we are called to it! Thank you, Lucy!

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  4. Susan, my heart dropped when you said that your mom was diagnosed last week. I'm trying to hurry up and dry my tears because I'm afraid the heating guy will come up from servicing the unit and wonder how my laptop could make me cry. I will be praying for you, your boys & husband, your dad and most of all your mom as she begins her fight!!!! Hang in there on the days when it is hard to stay positive!!

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    1. Kim - I know that I can count on your prayers! Thank you for being so encouraging!

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  5. I'm praying. You are so blessed to have each other.

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    1. You are right, Melody, we are very blessed to have each other. I can't imagine having to go through this alone - my mom has an army of people surrounding her with love and support!

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  6. Oh Susan. I started tearing up reading this. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I know too many people who have faced cancer, and it is a tough rode to walk, but I absolutely agree that beautiful things can come out of the ugly. Your family will be in my prayers.

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  7. Oh, Susan, I am so sorry to hear this. It is such a difficult thing to watch a blessed mother go through such agony. Your mom will appreciate you so very much through the future days.
    My mom has beaten death three separate times. It was horrible and hard and heart-wrenching, but there really is beauty on the other side. I'm praying and praying and praying for all of you.

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    1. Wow, Christine, your mom is a warrior! She gives me hope! Thank you for your prayers!

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  8. Susan
    This is absolutely a beautiful post.....thank you for sharing your memories, your childhood and your Mom with us. And yes, I'd be honored to pray for her. Thank you for the request!!

    Hang in there, friend.
    xoxoxo

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    1. Thank you, Chris, for praying for my mom. It means the world to all of us!

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  9. so sorry to hear the news and will definitely keep her in mind.

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  10. Hi, Mary Smith posted your story asking for prayer. I came to read your blog as a result. I am praying right now for your mother. Thanks for having the courage to share such a personal battle.

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    1. Thank you, Mary, for taking the time to pray and to reach out to a complete stranger. You will be blessed for your kindness!

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  11. Susan,this was a beautiful post, and your mother is a beautiful woman. I will definitely keep her in my prayers, and your dad as well.

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  12. So sorry to hear about your mom! Sending prayers to all of your family as you begin this difficult journey.

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    1. Thank you, Adriana! I hope that you and your family are well, and that your house is coming along according to plan!

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  13. I will keep your mom and family in my prayers. It is an honor.

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  14. Susan, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. We will pray for her each night! Please keep us updated on how she is doing.

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  15. I am so sorry, Susan! Please know that our prayers join those of many others who know and love your wonderful Mother. Thank you for opening your heart. May you be given all the courage and strength you need for the days ahead.

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  16. Of course prayers will be coming her way!!! So sorry about the diagnosis, but I know by the sound of your writing that she is one strong woman!!! If y'all need anything else, just tell us.

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