Beauties and the Beast

A dear friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. The doctors say she has less than six months to live. She disagrees.

She is not the first woman I know to be struck with this horrific disease. Some of these women have passed away; their lives cut tragically short. Some of them have gone on to survive and even thrive after treatment.

These women have jobs, dreams, families, and responsibilities.

These women are somebody’s mother, wife, daughter, sister or friend.

These women are undergoing radiation, chemo, and surgeries.

These women are as brilliant as they are brave, as strong as they are stunning and fierce as they are kind.

These women fight for themselves, their families, and their lives.

These women’s lives are precious, and their deaths are devastating.

Their fights are an inspiration. The courage they manifest – after diagnosis, during treatment, and as they square off against death itself – is unwavering. These selfless women comfort their loved ones during their health scares. They refuse to be pitied, refuse to go quietly, and refuse to forfeit. They will not acquiesce to this disease; their battle scars prove that they have earned the right to experience their futures, and they will not waste a moment.

This disease ravages them physically but cannot steal their joy or crush their indomitable spirits. Their bodies may change; they may lose their breasts or their hair, but these women are not weak, and they are not ugly. They are beautiful warriors who never surrender. Even if they must move on from this life to the next, their spirits live on through the work, the loved ones and the memories that they leave behind.

These women deserve support and compassion; they deserve long lives. They deserve miracles, but perhaps they are the miracles – a gift to all of us who know them.

These women are teachers. They teach us that today – not someday – is the time to act. They teach us to forgive instead of to wound. They teach us to cherish instead of take for granted. They teach us to take better care of ourselves and our loved ones. They teach us to make time instead of making excuses. They teach us that God’s grace shines most brightly during the storms of life. They teach us more about faith than we could learn from any sermon.

To the families of those who have been lost, your mothers, your wives, your daughters, and sisters were treasures. We were blessed to have them with us, albeit too briefly, and we will honor them by remembering them and the lessons that they taught us. I hope that you take some comfort in that.

To the ladies who are battling this beast, you are magnificent, and you have my deepest admiration. Keep fighting, dear friends. Heaven would be lucky to have you, but we need you here.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. - Pope Paul VI

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. - Pope Paul VI

Amanda RoweComment