A cold dawn greeted me that morning, leaving me chilled as I began my day. There would be no rush, no hurry to complete any tasks. Just coffee and a book, something to allow me an escape. Solitude and a time for reflection on my loss would come later. It was Mother’s Day.
My mother died in 1999 after a recurrence of breast cancer. Every Mother’s Day since then had brought a reminder of her death, and so I learned to avoid the festivities, along with the pain that resulted. Typically I buried myself in work, spending the day in a whir of activity and tiring myself to exhaustion. Anything to survive another Mother’s Day.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in 2016, however, I was no longer able to work. Almost a year of surgeries and treatments had taken their toll, altering my body and my life, bit by bit. As parts of my life fell away, the old means of distraction disappeared as well. I couldn’t keep running forever.
On Mother’s Day this year, I felt the impact of so many changes. The same cancer that had killed my mother was threatening my life yet again. Loss piled on top of loss, and I was left to wonder what would eventually be left. Sitting on my couch and reflecting on everything that had happened, I yearned for the stillness that seemed to elude me.
In the midst of so much change, though, I knew that there was Someone who was always the same:
“In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes…Find in Me the stability for which you have yearned.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Wearied by the effects of the medications, I had found it difficult to look beyond that pain. Seeing another Mother’s Day was doubly hard this year, remembering the death of my mother as well as the events of the past year. And yet I grasped onto the truth that Jesus was with me in that moment, in the middle of all of that suffering.
Perhaps the difficulties that I had experienced could be used to bring me closer to Him:
“Abundant life is not necessarily health and wealth; it is living in continual dependence on Me.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
In the past, I had sought escape and avoided the reality of my loss. But this year I could face it fully. Perhaps I would not have come to that place of acceptance without the pain. I knew, though, that I could only move forward by depending on Jesus to bring me through this time. And with that perspective, I saw clearly for the first time the blessings that were already there.
Rather than continue to focus inward, I decided that this year would be different. I would reach out to someone else on that Mother’s Day. Having received a Compassion Bag while taking chemo, I wanted to pass along that blessing to another survivor. I sponsored a bag so that someone else might feel loved. Now, instead of a day of pain, Mother’s Day had become a time of giving, a day of hope and healing, thanks to Compassion That Compels.
BEAUTIFUL Krista Schnee inspired me. She wrote with a passion and raw honesty. I will miss her so very much, as will her Compassion That Compels family that she lovingly supported and brought hope to women through her love. While she was in hospice, she was still thinking of others – she donated her birthday to CTC. She passed before her birthday. Her donation was sent to someone who has the same gene that predisposes her to several cancers. Agape, Kristianne Stewart, Founder