Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farewell to a wonderful woman...

I've been thinking all through my awesome Chicago weekend about the fun tales I would post here on Delicious as Pie when I returned.

I couldn't have guessed that I'd be writing instead about a friend who gave up her long battle with cancer this past Saturday.

Andrea... when I think about her, I see her standing up so straight, short blond hair shiny under the church office lights, her smile stretching from ear to ear. I think about her goofy sense of humor and the way she always had time to help answer my thousand questions that first year I directed Vacation Bible School.

At that time, she worked as one of the church secretaries. I didn't even know at that point that she'd been through breast cancer and had come out cancer-free.

A few quick months later, though, the cancer returned and before the doctors caught it, it spread into her spinal cord and brain.

Two years have passed. Andrea fought so hard. She went through chemo and radiation that nearly killed her, yet she hung on. Her pallor turned grey, only a  few fringes of hair along the base of her skull remained, her stature diminished.

I saw her the last time maybe two or three weeks before we left Washington. She'd had enough energy to come to church and I was thrilled. I held her close and asked for news. She said, "The doctors said I should enjoy myself now." She smiled brightly, as if she was telling me about a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Really, she was telling me she was dying.

I wanted to visit her one last time before we pulled out of Vancouver, but you know the insanity during the last couple weeks before moving. I sent her a letter back in early December. That's as far as I got.

But I prayed all the time for her, her husband and their two daughters. Samantha is 15. Michelle is 13, just like my Hayley. To lose your mom when you're so very young... I can't even begin to comprehend that.

Now I just want to be there for those girls. I just want to take care of them, hold them, wipe their tears and force them to eat. I hate being so far away.

But God is taking care of them and our prayers can do so much good.

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