Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cancer - It's not the winner.

My doorbell rang early this morning, and just like most days it was one of my maid friends from next door.  It was "Nan", my friend from Indonesia, but she wasn't ringing for one of our normal chats.  She was upset, and using the little bit of English she knows told me "Carrie", my other friend, needed me.  Carrie is my maid friend from the Philippines that I wrote about in an earlier post.  Carrie has been sending money back to the Philippines to care for her children, and also to buy medicine for her sister with stage 4 bone cancer.  Her contract is up here at the end of the month, and her employer has told her that she will send her home next month some time.  Carrie was hoping to get home in time to see her sister before she passed away.  Unfortunately, the reason Nan said Carrie needed me this morning is because she got a call from a friend in the Philippines last night telling her that her sister died Friday.

After Nan got me outside, she called for Carrie to come out.  I fought back tears as Carrie came running to me with tears streaming down her face, and all I could do for the first few minutes was just wrap my arms around her and hold her as she cried uncontrollably.  Every great loss I've ever experienced came to mind... my Dad, my best friend, my brother-in-law, my grandmothers, all of them.  I know the pain, and wanted so badly to take it away from her.  I have watched poor Carrie endure so much here, most of it I can not share on a public blog.  I've shared her hardships with many of you that know me though, because her situation weighs heavy on my heart daily. I pray for her and Nan everyday, and I have been praying that she would be able to at least see her sister one last time.  This is a pain I so wanted her to be spared.  She already lost her dad just 3 months after being here in Abu Dhabi.

As I stood holding her this morning, trying to find the right words, knowing from past experience that there are no real words to take away the pain completely or fill the emptiness.  There is only our faith and belief in God, and the promise that death does not have to be an ending, but instead a beginning to an eternity.  I know from experience it is impossible to rationalize or understand a sudden unexpected death of a loved one.  I lost my Dad to an industrial accident, my best friend to a car wreck, and my brother-in-law to a senseless murder, and to this day I don't  have the answers as to why they were ripped without warning from my life other than it was part of God's plan.  My two beautiful grandmothers, on the other hand I understand as painful as losing them was.  Both of them, like Carrie's sister were battling this evil beast we call cancer, and it had gotten to a point that no human medicine could beat it.  Their poor bodies had endured so much.  My grandmothers were not weaklings though, both were incredibly strong women that beat unbelievable odds many times.  The old Timex commercial slogan "takes a lickin, keeps on tickin" describes both of them perfectly.

After my last grandmother, my Dad's mom, died of Leukemia, I found it hard to say again that another strong woman had lost to such an ugly disease.  Many of you know, I was actually at sea on a cruise ship when I got the news that she had died.  Her body rejected one of her routine blood transfusions, and things went downhill rapidly from that point.  I remember walking outside to be alone to process the bad news, and the fact that I was miles away from my grandfather and the rest of my family that I felt needed me.  I remember looking out over a beautiful ocean that day and how the sky was so beautifully lit as if Heaven was opening it's doors, and that's when I realized.  I realized, my grandmother didn't lose to cancer, nor did my mom's mom before her.  No, these 2 courageous God loving fighters did not lose.  Through my tears a smile came to my face as I realized how they had really won the battle with cancer before it even began with their belief in God and his promise of more beyond this Earth.  I knew at that moment my grandmother was wrapping her arms around my father, something she had not been able to do in almost 23 years.  I shared it when I gave her eulogy, that I couldn't think of a better prize for her fight than for her  to feel the arms of her son again and to meet her God she loved and worshiped.  She was also free of all the pain cancer had brought upon her, and she could finally rest.  She was a winner, and cancer was the loser because it could no longer inflict its pain upon her.

This is what I shared with Carrie today.  I pray at some point, it will ease perhaps just the slightest bit of pain she is feeling.  I have told her that I am here for her always for anything she may need.  Unfortunately, Carrie now has to worry about her 76 year old mother not having enough food following the burial expenses.  She briefly spoke to her mom today, and her mom said they have no money and no rice (their only food).  I think it goes without saying that I will be visiting a Western Union today.  Many of us come here miles away from our homes to this strange land, and wonder why God has brought us here.  It's days like today, when I see how someone miles away from her family just like me actually needs me to be her "family" and how I'm able to send money and help a family in the Philippines that I've never met, that I see I am supposed to be here.  God wants me to be here.  It is His plan.        
My Grandma Howard

                       My Grandma Eubanks


Anonymous said...

Hi Cristy! What a touching story and a good tribute to those lost to Cancer! Cancer not the winner for sure! Miss you!!
Julie M


Thanks for reading, Julie. I miss you guys too!

whturner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whturner said...

Cristy that made my eyes water I dont think i can show that one to grandpa eubanks but i show him all the other ones.

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