No one wants to hear these words during the time of year when hearts are light and the world is bright with lights of green and red. 

 

You have cancer.

 

We knew there was a possibility but we had prayed and hoped for another diagnosis.

 

It is a rare form.

 

I looked to mother to see her reaction.  Her eyes were glued to the doctor’s.  She stared without flinching.  No emotion of fear or tears.

 

The entire stomach has been engulfed with the tumor.

 

I looked to my husband as he, too, intently looked at the doctor.  Were we hearing these words or still sleeping and caught in a nightmare?

 

I have only seen this type of cancer 3 times in my career.

 

I kept my eyes on mother wondering how it felt to hear those words.  It was difficult to hear them myself.

 

There is no cure.

 

God, No, not this.  Not now.  Not ever.  Please, God.

 

We have two options.  Remove your stomach or chemo.

 

I wanted to run from the room but my body would not move.  I felt nauceous.  I wanted to scream.  I could not swallow.  It was hard to breathe.

 

But I don’t think you can survive either one.

 

There it was.  The death sentence.  My precious mother-in-law had been given the worst news anyone could ever hear.

 

I am sorry to have to tell you this.

 

Mother finally speaks.  "I’m sorry you have to tell me this."   

 

Always mother -- feeling sorry for the doctor who had to bring bad news.  A long silence.  Then a sob from the depths of a soul filled the room.  It was me.  I stood and crossed the room to mother and hugged her as tears wet her blouse.  My husband – her son – caressed my back as I knelt to hug the only mother I ever knew. 

 

Do you have any questions?

 

As I sat back in my chair, the only one I could think of was “Why God?”  No one asked that question.  Other questions filled the air.  Then someone asked – I know not who – the one question you don’t want to hear the answer to.

 

Six months to a year.  Maybe. 

 

I was too shocked to say anything.  I stared once again at this wonderful woman who I had been blessed with more than 37 years ago.  She filled a void left when my mother abandoned our family when I was six.  She had three boys and I filled a void for her and became the daughter she never had.   My head said, “Don’t abandon me, please.”  I may be in my fifties but those feelings of abandonment came back hard and the devil was beaming with delight.

 

Do you have anything you need to say?

 

Mother adjusts the sleeve to her coat she has thrown around her shoulders.  She suddenly became very cold.  A clearing of her throat.  She sits up taller than before and says, “Well, it is what it is.  We will just deal with it.  I can’t change a thing.”

 

Go and live your life to the fullest.  You are an intelligent woman.  You have your faculties.  You are in no pain now.  Enjoy your time and we will get back together after the holidays to see how you are doing.  We will deal with complications as they come up.

 

Thank you, doctor.  Hand shakes.  Hugs.  Check-out.  Make appointment.  Walk to the elevator.  Feel the warmth of the sun as the exit doors open.  Focus on walking to the car.  “How do we tell the children?  They love their grandma so much.  This will devastate them.”  My heart was hurting.  Nothing else mattered.   The world was moving, people were shopping, and I wondered how they could continue on when our world had just crashed in on us.

 

Help mother into the car.  Kiss my husband goodbye as he goes back to work.  I don’t know what to do.  My hands are on the steering wheel but I am not sure where to go.  

 

Then she says it, “I’ll be okay.  I asked God this morning to let me accept whatever he wanted me to go through.  I don’t fear what lies ahead.  We will get through this.”

 

Fear – that is what I had felt from the moment the doctor began to speak.  And here was mother giving me comfort as she faced the worst news a person can hear.  That’s why I love her so much and why I wanted my friends to know her. 

 

In the days and months to come, we will help mother go through her walk towards heaven.  This may be the last Christmas with her.  I thank God for the gift He gave us to know that she may not be here next Christmas.  That may not appear to be a gift to some but it is to us.  We have time to make amends.  We have time to enjoy every day with her.  We have time to love on her and give her all she needs to be comfortable through this journey.  We have time and we will fear not because she is going to a better place than this world could ever hold.

 

Hug your family members.  Repair a broken relationship.  Let others know that the one who gave my mother in law courage to face her illness can help others face theirs.  Know that the world may be in turmoil but fear not -- Baby Jesus came to earth and secured our liberties for us.  Men and kings may try to take away our freedoms but he set us free and they have no power over us.  He brought a light to a darkened world and His light still shines today.  Fear not.

 

Please pray for Frances, my sweet mother in law, who heard this news yesterday.   If you met her face to face, you would adopt as your Grandma.  She just has that way about her and is loved by all who come into her presence.

 

Merry Christmas, dear friends.  Enjoy this little Christmas song.  Mother loves the Gaither Band so this one’s for her!

 

 

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Comment by William T. Wright on December 22, 2011 at 9:08am

There I was, feeling sorry for myself, my wife Shirley is being treated for Stage 1 breast cancer. Then like a blessing from God comes a story of triumph over fear, with God's help.

Suddenly my problems seem so small.

God Bless you Billie and your family and most especially God Bless you mother-in-law.

Remember he is always there for you, remember what your knees are for.

Much love,

Tom Wright

Comment by sabrina Wheeler on December 22, 2011 at 7:12am

Thank you Billie for sharing your life with us. May God's peace be with you and your family. 

Comment by phyllis deery on December 22, 2011 at 4:34am

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Comment by Susan Fromm on December 21, 2011 at 7:56pm

What a beautiful story of LOVE!!!!  Will be keeping your Mother-in-law in prayer, and all of you whom love her. 

Comment by Marty Cleghorn on December 21, 2011 at 4:45pm

Your strong and brave mother-in-law sounds like my Mother.  She was my strength, my mentor, my joy all 57 years that I had her.  Her concern was always for her 7 children and we were better for it.  God bless you, your husband and your family during this upcoming difficult time and know that you are uplifted in prayer, Bille.  You should be so proud of what you have learned from her example and I'm sure she is VERY proud of all of you.

Comment by Clyde Reid on December 21, 2011 at 4:37pm

Billie,

I came here only yesterday due to a link sent to me by a friend about your flash mob video.  I am truly blessed to be here just in time to read this post. 

Our prayers are with you and we will add Frances and your family to our church prayer list.  I still believe God still answers prayers so we will be praying for a miracle and her complete recovery.

Comment by Armando Delgado on December 21, 2011 at 4:36pm

Miracles happen, Billie and like the famous man said, "it ain't over till it's over." Live and enjoy every minute of your life and hers. Only God knows when it's time for us to go.

Comment by David L. Beamer on December 21, 2011 at 11:01am

We are so saddened to hear this diagnosis. Billie, your message is a blessing as it reminds us all about priorities. The greatest truth is Frances knows Jesus the Christ, her future is known ... triumph over this  world's struggles and pain. Peggy and I are praying for you all.

Comment by Debra Reid Vining on December 21, 2011 at 10:33am

So sorry....speechless......much love and prayers....In Christ, Steve and Debra

Comment by Fred Gottshalk on December 21, 2011 at 9:46am

Billie,

Take the miracle of your mother-in-law, and hold her close. God put her in you life to show you some things.  I would say that the greatest things she has shown you is 'Grace and Forgiveness'.

I just said a prayer for you and yours.  May God ease you pain, and hold you in HIS everyloving arms at this time.  Celebrate Christ's Birth.  I am sure that Frances is celebrating, for the comfort and loving family God has given her.

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