My friend Marcia died this weekend. My heart is broken. The last time I talked to her was in October when I went to the oncologist for my check up and she was in the chemo lab. She was her same spunky self, though a bit weaker than usual. It was most likely going to be her last scheduled treatment. She had already been 3 rounds with the heavyweight champion, ovarian cancer, and she was thrilled and convinced she was through with the monster. However, complications from chemo left her unable to digest food, causing weight loss, and in a weakened state, instead of getting nutrition the monster withheld it. It was only a matter of time.
Now, I sit and remember my friend. I wrote about her before , but now, it seems even more important to pay tribute to this amazing lady. She was a generation ahead of me, but our hearts were of the same cloth despite the age difference. Cancerland has a way of leveling the playing field and helping people realize our similarities are much more important than our differences. We battled the same giant; my battle started two years before hers, but her energizer bunny status propelled her to helping others right off the bat. The support group she started for women undergoing treatment was her calling. She figured if God left her here, he had something for her to do. And do it, she did. With gusto.
But more than what she did, it is who she was what made her so special. She had a compassionate heart that was bigger than life. Helping others was her gift. Hospitality lived within her. Her hands were never idle. Going, going, going…always moving, always with a list to check off. She carried powerful humility of heart, and fierce faith that did not give up on anyone or anything. She and I shared what some might call stubbornness, but I prefer the word tenacity, and Marcia had it in spades. Yet, that trait above all others kept her involved in the lives of people she loved. Pouring out her love in actions and not taking no for an answer.
She was creative and artistic. Who else would, go to all the trouble to freeze fish, paint them, and then print their scales? Only Marcia. The uniqueness of her art fit the uniqueness of her personality. Her laughter was frequent and genuine. The joy of the Lord was her strength. Her positive outlook fueled many others who were undergoing cancer treatments. She radiated with it, and it overflowed onto the rest of us; lifting our heads and hearts. She didn’t have time for those who complained incessantly. Her motto was “make the best of it” and it is how she lived her life.
When her cancer came back after nearly 10 years- time, she was grateful for the extra years granted her. She didn’t want to interrupt the family Thanksgiving so she made her appointment afterwards. It was her way to downplay the hunch that something wasn’t quite right. Once it was clear the cancer was back, she took things head-on. Her tenacity was once again, her protector. She jumped into treatment like the champion she was and she won round two of the battle.
Her family was her pride and joy. She talked about them and shared details of family gatherings, including grand-kids’ antics. While she loved all the rest of us, her family was her first love. Jack was both her sparring partner and her covering. He did things her way to keep the peace, because he knew she liked order and she would re-do it anyway so it saved a lot of trouble. The love between them was evident to anyone around them, their laughter was refreshing. He cared for her during her illness with kindness and compassion. Their many years together ended too soon.
I have no doubt that Marcia fought till the very end. She was a fighter, but there are times when the battle is overwhelmingly tiring. The cost, too great. She knew the time to let go. Her faith would have directed her to reach for God’s hand as he held it out to her. I feel sure her heavenly welcome was a quite celebration to be heard and seen. I am also sure she is now planning the next home-going for someone else…already on the welcoming committee.