One thing that can certainly be said is that Heather was a FIGHTER! She used each day to give glory to her Creator, and utilized the body given to her to stay strong and fight the cancer in her body.
I will never forget how she fought so valiantly… from being in a position of not knowing her, I could see her fight to live well with her family, to enjoy each moment she had… all the while, fighting through the nasty side affects of chemo and all the other medications she took. From where I sat, she took all in stride and amazingly, with a smile on her face. She laughed, smiled, loved, cared for others, and lived so beautifully despite the war within her body… and all of those things were sincere, completely from the heart.
Of course she had moments of anger, fear, frustration, and I could go on but the point is… Not once did her faith waver.
In January, she posted a picture that made me cry instantly. Someone commented that she looked the “picture of health”, and she did really! She looked beautiful, and her hair had grown in and was adorable (not sure if she knew it or not, but she looked amazing with short hair)! She would style it similar to P!nks hair, super short and kind of like a little faux-hawk. I loved it on it her and she ROCKED it so well… but I could see something else. I have seen that look in the eyes of others.
She was still smiling, looked amazing, and indeed “a picture of health”, but her eyes gave it away. There was a tiredness that went beyond the scope of simply looking “tired”. Her beautiful eyes seemed tired. Not the -bag under your eyes, and needing strong coffee- tired. If eyes are the windows into your soul… her soul was understandably beginning to show signs of the exhausting battle her body was engaged in every single day. A nap wouldn’t cure this type. My heart hurt for her.
Then, pictures were no longer being posted, days would go by… and then a few more… then we learned she was in the hospital for “pain control”, and to try to get her “appetite” back up so she could get into some clinical trials.
Then, to the horror of everyone… she made a post that she was being released from the hospital… but into Hospice care. The cancer had spread. As an outsider, I don’t know how bad it spread because she simply said things “had progressed alot”, and the cancer had now spread to her lungs as well.
She asked for patience and tolerance as she was unable to get onto facebook often and reply to those inquiring, and she said that they still needed to explain all of this to their 3 small children. I think even more hearts broke upon reading that. Even in those moments, she shared that she was still fighting, and would continue to do so… and continued to give God all glory, honor, love, and praise.
I checked her caringbridge blog constantly… as well as a page created for her on Facebook called HeatheringTheStorm.
Then, what felt so very sudden to me, she passed. She was told November 1, 2013 of her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and was blessed to be with her family and friends (especially her children) until February 1st, 2016.
Something her Mother said in a blog post really struck me. Heathers Mom said ~ “One of her (Heathers) concerns was not to look like a quitter even after all she had been through, my precious girl was so strong and definitely not a quitter.” My heart hurt to read those words. I understand that she was staying positive, not just for herself, but for MANY people she inspired… and perhaps she felt it would somehow damage the inspiration that so many felt from sharing in her journey… I certainly don’t know the answer to that. However, PLEASE watch this short Ted Talk I am posting at the bottom of this post, because it touches on that subject… It is by a woman named Alia Indrawan, and she was a hospice nurse. The entire talk is touching, and the point that spoke the loudest to me was she said, “Let me make it clear… letting go, and surrendering is NOT giving up… and it is not giving up hope, or giving up faith, and is in no way a weakness.” I agree with that wholeheartedly.
My heart truly goes out to all those who loved her… and all those she loved. She is gone much too soon.
Many will say that heaven gained an Angel.
Perhaps that is true…
but I know one thing for sure…
the Earth certainly lost one.
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