Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Relaying...in memory of mom.

Well, most of you know I am very involved with Relay for Life, the event put on nationwide by the American cancer society. I have had a lot on my mind in recent days, a lot of it being that I miss mom terribly bad right now. But instead of writing about my grief experience, what I am feeling, what was going on last year at this time, I want to write this blog about why I relay. It's still related to mom and my experience with cancer, of course. But it's a redirected post for today anyhow.
 I first did a Relay for Life in 2010. I heard about it from a friend and decided I wanted to do something to make a difference in fighting cancer. At that time, my mom had gone through a partial lung removal, rounds of radiation and chemo. I started a team called Java Joggers, based off my love for coffee and running put together. Being that it was my first year, I learned a lot and was not really sure what to expect. I fell in love with the event from the start. I was able to form a pretty good team, and we raised somewhere around 1,000$ that first year. Every year, the event starts off with a survivor lap...people line the track and clap for the survivors as they go around. We are celebrating their lives! The caregivers go with the patients. Mom couldn't walk it-she didn't have the lung capacity. So she rode a golf cart, and I went with her, as her caregiver. It was an incredible and emotional experience.Mom said to the golf cart driver, "Thank you. Next year I will be walking it." I could go on and on, but I'll just say it was a great experience.
 As 2010 turned to 2011, I wanted to be involved again. Mom was dying. I felt desperate to do something in some way...and Relay had given me that way to give back to cancer patients and their families. So I signed my team up again, knowing that likely mom wouldn't be there for the 2011 Relay. I told mom everything, all the time. I would tell her about signing up and the progress I was making in raising money. She was always one of the few in my life who always wanted to know everything i was doing-she would patiently listen to every ridiculous story I had, whether they were silly, stupid, frustrating, exciting, or completely irrelevant to anything. Of course, my team name was the same "Java Joggers". As days plugged along, what I was raising kept coming in. It was really exciting on some levels....I'd tell mom by her bedside or as we sat quietly on the couch "Mom, another 100$ came in today!" She would always smile in such encouragement. Most of the time through the process of watching mom get worse, I felt pretty helpless. I could do nothing to stop her disease. It was growing. But maybe I could raise some money to help someone else....in honor of my mom.I would tell her this every time-"Mom, I do this for you. I love you. You inspire me."  Mom inspired me-to help others, to pick a cause, to use the bad experience for a good thing. Mom kept a journal through some of her process, and sometime I will share an excerpt or 2. She was amazing. Sometimes people would tell me what I was doing was commendable. I really don't see it that way. It's just something small I can do to fight this disease which is growing so prevalently.
 I love Relay for Life. One thing I love about it is that it covers all cancers-it's not related to one specific. As the 2012 year for Relay for Life approaches, somehow I agreed to be the chair person for Greene County Relay for Life. It is a huge position, and at times I feel so inadequate to be doing it.Sometimes  I wonder what I got myself into. But other times I am so glad to be serving in that-it's kind of my new mission field in life right now. I get to meet so many people. And by God's strength alone, I get to talk about my experience and hopefully help someone else through theirs. There are times that is so hard. But God promised to use all things to work together for His good for those that love Him (Rom. 8:28) and He promised that He'd give me the strength (Phil. 4:13), so by Him I Relay. For Mom. For my mother in law, who is a cancer survivor-I don't mention her as often. I love her very much-it's a different cancer experience and so I leave her to tell what she may or may not want to share. I relay for those fighting currently who I know-Tara, being one of many names I'd like to mention. I relay in celebration of survivors I know-that list could go on forever, but to name a few, Bobbie, Jim, Paula,Chase, Travis,Aunt Pam, Uncle Larry, Uncle Jerry.........
 I attended a conference last weekend about Relay for Life, which prompted the need to write this today. It's just in my heart. I love to do it. I do it for Mom primarily. But I do it for all those facing cancer now, and to help those who may have to hear that news in the future. This blog is not an advertisement (though if you do want to know more about it, just comment or email me or Facebook me; or if you want to donate to my cause, just let me know). And it's certainly not about making myself look good-because it is only a God thing I am able to do it. It's more just what's on my heart today. Especially as the holiday season is here, and I am missing mom with a heartache.
 So, I Relay. In Memory of mom. I'm including some pictures from 2011 event. I miss you, mom ! But I will Relay forever in memory of you and to carry out a piece of you a little at a time. One day at a time.

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