A few years ago, while living in West Virginia, my mother called me one day. She was telling me about a friend and co-worker who had been diagnosed with cancer. As part of a fundraiser, t-shirts were being sold. The shirts were pink (in honor of breast cancer) with white writing. The slogan “Give it to God .Team G. Her Battle is Our Battle.” was printed on the shirts. After losing my aunt to cancer just a few years earlier, I absolutely bought one. I still have it.
As time passed, I kept up with Gloria’s battle through my mother. She went through the usual treatments. There were bad moments and good ones. She appeared to be on the mend. It was thought that her cancer had went into remission. I was overjoyed to hear this. I know her family had to be as well. Unfortunately, cancer can be a sneaky and deceptive disease, and Gloria’s case was no exception. A few months ago, it was back…..with a vengance.
I felt bad for Gloria and her family. This had to shake them to their core. Im very sure that the question “Why?” has been asked more than once. For me, it hits a little close to home. Gloria is only 44 years old. The same age as my brother and only 5 years older than me. At her original age of diagnosis she would have been around the age that I am now. During that time, I fell very ill myself. I lost my appetite and lost weight rapidly. I was scared that I had cancer myself. After months of worry I did find out that I dont have cancer. I wish that Gloria didnt either.
I have rebounded against my illness…..to a degree. Gloria is fighting against her illness with more strength than I have ever seen. Last night I got to meet her for the first time. I knew the situation that I was walking into. I knew pretty much what to expect. In this case I got a little something unexpected…..peace. The feeling of despair and sadness that usually accompanies a situation like this wasnt present. That was something that I never encountered before. Was it because I had never met her or her family before? Was I uncaring? Absolutely not. I was the witness to the amazing power of our Lord at work. How can I say that when she is suffering through a painful and slow death? I will surely tell you.
I watched her move uncomfortably in her bed. I listened to her struggle to speak. I listened as her husband talked about her illness and its progression. I would just watch her. I was waiting for the feeling of sadness that I generally feel for another in situations like this to set in. It didnt. To be honest, all I felt was peace. After leaving last night, and being unable to sleep last night, I realized why I wasnt feeling sadness. I was witnessing the incredible strength of Gloria’s physical body at the end of its earthly journey and the beginning of Gloria’s spiritual strength at the beginning of its journey to join our Heavenly Father. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience. In this way, her physical body’s suffering was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. That is why I could only feel peace.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to meet Gloria. I believe that I was not supposed to meet her until now. You may be wondering why that is. You see, in addition to my illness, my husband’s injuries, and my son’s mental condition, my financial status is about as bad as it can be. In times like this, I lose control and go batty. Batty would be an understatement of my behavior lately. Unhinged, self pitying, and inconsiderate would be better words to describe me. I was acting like my stomach conditions, my husband’s pain from injuries, and my son’s actions from his retardation were the worst thing ever. All the while, not far from here, a husband is watching is wife die each day, children are about to say goodbye to their mother, siblings are going to lose their sister, and Im worried and freaking out over my life? Watching Gloria’s strength is exactly what I needed to see to get my head back on right. Watching a body ready to go down and a spirit ready to rise is just what I needed. Realizing that illness does not mean that God has left you is my lesson learned. My purpose for meeting her now was to be a witness to……
THE GLORY OF GLORIA