Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Can you be sad but happy at the same time?

 I'm conflicted. This morning I woke up and read my emails before getting out of bed. It's a bad habit and I keep telling myself I won't do it any more, but I do. I can't help it. I'm a multi-tasker, always have been, always will be. Anyway, as I was reading, I almost skipped over a notification telling me a friend had recently made a new blog post. I don't know why, but sometimes I just find it hard to get sucked into the problems of others. I have plenty of my own. Thankfully, I didn't skip it. This email notification was different. Not only did it alert me to the fact that my friend had made a recent blog post, it also told me she was no longer living. Yes, you read that right...she was no longer living. 

Apparently my sweet friend, Jen, had thought ahead. She'd been planning for this day. She knew it was coming. 

You see, we were both diagnosed with the exact stage and grade of breast cancer. I was diagnosed in June 2014 and she was diagnosed in August of 2014. I was 56, she was 41. I had 4 grown children, she had 3 teenage daughters. She lived up North. I lived down South. There were a lot of differences between us but there were so many similarities, too. Besides sharing the commonality of breast cancer, we were also fellow believers in Jesus Christ. He was our life and our faith in Him is what helped us navigate the scary and uncertain world of breast cancer. 

I'm sad to say that Jen and I took different routes in our cancer treatment. She chose to go the conventional route - surgery, chemo, radiation, and anti-hormone therapy. I chose the more natural route although I did have surgery and endured 28 rounds of radiation, I have tried to manage my health with supplements and vitamins and whole foods. 

Jen and I compared notes often through emails and letters. It helped to know someone else understood the fears and frustrations that came along with the silver plated diagnosis we both never expected to receive. And that's why it hurts so much to know she's gone.I've ticked off another box in the long list of friends who've gone ahead to be with the Lord. And I can't help but wonder why I'm still here...

Tom and Jen

But it's just like everything else with cancer. Nothing makes sense. 

This year has been tough. Not only has Covid wreaked havoc on our world, I keep losing friends and family members to cancer. It hurts. I won't lie, it hurts really bad. "Dying is a part of living, but only a very small part," says Ashleigh Brilliant and she's right. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know this life is only temporary. My eternal life has yet to begin. 

I'm honored and thankful to have known Jennifer Small. She was a good friend. Please pray for her family in the days ahead as they shift into living without her. And if you've never thought about where you'll spend eternity, please do. There are only 2 places you can go - to Heaven or to Hell. I'd much rather see you in Heaven than dream of you being eternally tortured in Hell. The decision is yours and yours alone to make. No one else can make it for you. Don't know how? It's easy: 



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