December 23, 2011
Five years ago, we stood by helpless as our friend buried his wife after a year long battle with synovial sarcoma. She was pregnant when she was diagnosed; her son, barely a year old when she passed away at age 29. A couple years ago, I read with hope, blogger, Lisa’s battle with ovarian cancer. I prayed for her every night. She had two daughters and it struck so close to home for me. I saw her a few days before she passed away when I was dropping off trays of food for her family. It was startling to see her like that and I wasn’t surprised to hear she had passed just three days later.
Last Friday, my friend’s husband lost his battle with esophageal cancer after a 14 month all-out war. He was 37 years old. I met her husband a couple years ago and he was one of those people who could light up a room with his smile. Mr. BBM and I instantly liked him. You couldn’t not. Although we didn’t know each other well, whenever I saw him he addressed me with such an easy way that he made you feel like you had known each other forever. They have two children, ages 12 and 8. Their daughter swims with my daughter in the summer.
On Wednesday night, Mr. BBM and I waited in line for over an hour at the viewing. The line was out the door of the funeral home and to the corner. From what I hear, it was like that for over five hours. Yesterday, Mr. BBM and I attended his funeral. At both the viewing and the funeral, I watched my friend stand tall. There she was on Wednesday night, comforting everyone else it seemed. Throughout the last 14 months, I’ve seen her look tired. I’ve seen her lose weight as she watched her husband’s treatments fail, one after the other. But I’ve never seen her cry. I’ve never seen her anything less than rock solid.
In fact, when Sassy broke her leg in February and I had a pity party for myself about how I couldn’t even go to the grocery store anymore, it was this very friend who showed up on my doorstep with three bags of groceries for me. In the summer when I stood around rubbing my sore back and hips from carrying around Baby Belated, it was she who stood behind me, rubbing my back when I least expected it.
After the funeral yesterday, I had a terrible headache from all the tears. Mr. BBM and I had a conversation about how pissed off we both were about the whole thing. If all those people who attended the viewing and the funeral were praying for a cure, why didn’t one come? It’s times like this when I get so angry and wonder, why? I question my faith and what all of this means. I have a hard time being patient and waiting for an answer. I have a very difficult time understanding why prayers go unanswered. . .
I’ve spent months being worried about my friend, and I spent all week thinking about her too. She’s been so strong for her husband, her kids and for everyone else around her. How can she possibly continue being so strong? At some point, she has to grieve and I’m worried about her and how hard that’s going to be for her. Will she ever really be able to grieve for him, when she’s trying to be so strong for her kids?
And then it occurred to me that I’ve been praying all along for a cure for her husband, but I’ve also been praying hard for strength and courage for her. If all those people who circled the block for hours on Wednesday night were doing the same, maybe that explains why she’s been so strong. Perhaps, at least that part of my prayers was answered.
So if that’s the case, then I hope this Christmas, that we can add even more people to the prayers for my friend and her family. I hope you’ll join me. When something terrible like this happens, it makes you appreciate your family that much more. Merry Christmas to you and your families.