I see you standing so proud, so strong, and I remember the first time I saw you, sitting in that hospital bed, so scared, so afraid of the unknown.
How could I forget the first patient room I cried in? We were both newly engaged, and you were just a few years younger than me. With one word—cancer—your life was forever changed.
Over the next year, you fought through the crippling nausea, the fatigue, the headaches. We watched as you wasted away from the effects of the chemotherapy, your bright, vibrant spirit dulled by the toxic medications flowing through your body and by being away from your family.
I remember the days of deep despair, when all you wanted was to be home with your loved ones, to feel normal again. All I wanted was to fix it for you; yet there was nothing I could do. FaceTime is not the same as a loving embrace or the comforts of home. So there we sat in the silence broken only by your sobs.
I never told you, but I prayed for you often. To this day, I keep the angel you gave me that Christmas in my kitchen window. Psalm 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, our ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging.” Each day you and your family lived out this verse, and your faith was a light to all of us.
Today, your fierce brown eyes are filled with power, with grace, with echoes of all you have endured at such a young age. Tears of joy and relief flow freely from all of our eyes. We are so proud of you. You are an overcomer; a woman whose strength runs deeper than most of us could ever hope for. Exodus 15:2 says, “The Lord is my strength and my song, he has given me victory.”
You are the reason we do what we do. You are why we spend long hours, nights, weekends, holidays away from our own families—because it is the deepest honor and utmost privilege to spend those hours with you when your family cannot, to learn from you in more ways than you know, to provide comfort when words are needed, and to sit in the silence when they are not.
So thank you, and thank you to all of our patients—those who are still here and those who have passed on—for the opportunity to be a part of your journey. It is not always easy, but what a blessing this calling is.
And we had a win today.