I had the privilege of being a neighbor of Patty's when we were growing up. In a farming community, the idea of being a neighbor is different than when you live in a city or at least in a subdivision. However, when you live in the country, you frequently know your neighbors better than many of the city dwellers do when they basically live right on top of each other.
Patty's death came just five days before Margaret and I were married. I remember the grief that had enveloped our community following her death. How could God allow such a beautiful person to die at such a young age? We sometimes have questions to which no easy answer appears. I will just say that we were all blessed to know her for the time we did.
Little did I know that another death would also occur a few days later - actually on our wedding day. No one informed me of that death until well after our wedding was over. However, a nursing student from Mizzou that I had gotten to know through a support group, lost her battle with cancer on the day of our wedding. Another young person gone much too soon.
I am a 32 year survivor of cancer. Yesterday, was the 17th anniversary of my second cancer surgery. Why have I made it all these years and other young people were not given a second chance? I don't know. However, I am trying to live my best life possible in gratitude for this extra time provided. It isn't always easy, and I frequently don't do it well, but I keep trying. I continue to be inspired by people like Patty.
As I remember Patty today, I am grateful for the blessing of her life. I can only imagine the grief experienced by her mom, dad, and siblings at the time of her death and well beyond. Where do we find the strength to continue on in life under such difficult circumstances? Sometimes we do it a day at a time. Other times we do it a minute at a time.
I will be lifting up the whole family in prayer today on this anniversary of her death. May you find great peace and consolation in knowing that many of us have been enriched because of Patty's life and her wonderful example of kindness and holiness.
(Photo above used with permission.)