One of my best friends’ heart is breaking this week.

Her younger brother is dying of cancer; he may be gone by the time you read this. He was diagnosed several years ago and immediately went in for surgery. After the surgery, he developed an infection, which prevented him from getting chemotherapy in a timely manner. Despite that, once he did receive that treatment it initially seemed to be successful, however, eventually the cancer spread, and he will lose his battle.

He is a man of faith,

and while this is not a blog about spiritual things, it’s important to know I share his faith and look forward to an eternity of fullness with God. I speak of it here only because for a long time I wondered if I really believed in an afterlife. Faith is a funny thing. You speak the words, but do you believe them? When I learned how close this young man was to death, my immediate thought was, soon he will be with his Savior. My faith, thankfully, is real.

Stormy skies IIIMy friend, Laurie, has faced so much in recent years. I don’t know how she bears it, but she does it with grace and humor. And probably the occasional meltdown. About seven or eight years ago her husband Dave, whose mental state had been failing steadily throughout their marriage, was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. He was on the verge of death when he had his surgery. Fortunately, he’s had an incredible recovery from that trauma — and it is a trauma, don’t let the word benign fool you — but his troubles weren’t over.

Sometimes the hits keep coming.

About the time Laurie’s brother was declared cancer-free, before it came back with a vengeance, and maybe four years after her husband’s brain surgery, Dave was diagnosed with the exact same kind of cancer her brother had. She was in shock. Thankfully, mercifully, his treatment went beautifully, and he was cancer-free at the end of the chemo treatments.

Except — wait — a brand-new tumor developed three months later. So they started all over again. By this time they knew her brother was in dire straits, and while Dave’s situation still looked a whole lot better, it was cancer. Cancer is a bitch.

Oh, I forgot to mention. During this entire time Laurie’s mom’s health was steadily failing. She died last December.

Dave is cancer-free now and we’re believing the best.

It can be a lonely journey sometimes.

Those of you who’ve been through this sort of thing know the myriad of challenges that come along with trials like these. Laurie has had to take time off of work and that has put a strain on her relationship with her employer. Their finances have taken a hit.

The golden moments have come from their children. Their incredible daughter will be a junior in college next year and their adorable son graduates from high school shortly. Thank God for healthy, happy children, although Laurie is aware there are probably issues from the time Dave’s mental state was deteriorating.

lightstock_209357_medium_user_7579580 [Converted]There are people in our lives who face a far greater share of life’s challenges than others well before they should. Laurie had more than a few burdens to bear before this as well, but her faith, her family, her friends have carried her through the hard times.

I went through a hell myself of an entirely different sort several years ago and she was there for me. We need people who have faced the fire and survived to help keep us strong. How unfair that seems, so let me be strong for my friends in return.

I will face the fire with you.


Image Credits: (SuperWoman) © Pearl — Lightstock (Sailboat in Storm) © brickrena — BigStock (Stormy Skies) water © AG — Fotolia; skies © Andrii Salivon – Fotolia; clock © Jakub Krechowicz – Fotolia; dock © Filip Miletic — Fotolia

12 Comments on “Facing the Fire

  1. Fantastic post! I pray for each of them and for you! Cancer is a bitch, and can cause so much havoc in a family’s life! My hubby is a stage 4 survivor, still beating all the odds. I pray for many more years with him! Let us be lions among the sheep, and be a shoulder when others are weak!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So thankful to hear your husband is a survivor! I know of other stage 4 survivors, and I marvel at that. There was a time when “stage 4” meant “waiting for death.” Now it often seems to mean “different treatment approach necessary.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your friend, Lauri, is so blessed to have you. That is so horrible and such a strange coincidence that her brother and husband had the same kind of cancer. Thank you for writing such a thought-provoking and tender post. Having faith through tragedy isn’t an easy road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I remember getting her message when she first learned Dave had cancer. She said it was “surreal.” I think sometimes not knowing what lies ahead helps us face the battle, and she knew…except fortunately her husband’s situation came out so much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My first thought: OMG, it doesn’t stop, does it? But your friend must be an amazingly resilient woman, or maybe we all dig down and find strength when we need it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tragedies & difficult times really weed out the true friends; the ones who stay and support you when you’re facing the fire. Blessings to you and your friend for being true and prayers to get you both through these tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t imagine how your friend and her family are coping. When my mother-in-law and then my dad had Cancer, it was a harrowing journey and unfortunately they lost. May Grace and Strenght be with you and your friends through this turbulent time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an unknown to me and I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to help her. So part of my prayers are for others who’ve been there and can empathize.

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