Sunday, November 13, 2011

Life Is Good No Matter What

Those are the words of my childhood friend, Holly.  She was one of my best friends growing up, and yesterday, she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 39. Holly has the most loving, devoted husband and three beautiful young children.

Holly & Steve at our wedding rehearsal dinner, 1995

When my Dad passed away over thirteen years ago, I had reached a place in my life where I knew there were just some things I could not control. By the time of my Dad's death, I fully understood that God is, in fact, in control, life moves - begins and ends - according to His will, and even crappy events, like Holly's recent illness and death, serve a greater purpose.


Holly, Heather, Allison and yours truly, circa big hair days.

I have known Holly since I was five.  Holly was the was the most genuine human being, friend, sister, daughter, spouse I have ever known. She lived her life with abundant joy and hope, even through her illness... not for her own benefit, but for ours... for her friends, her family, her husband and her children. 
 
Heather and Holly, 1991

Yesterday, when I learned of Holly's death, I was pissed. I told Matt that I just wanted to scream. Everything that I thought was dead inside of me came alive.  Initially, it was difficult for me to accept that taking a mother from her children, and wife from a husband who adores her, could be part of a "greater plan".

 

Heather, Allison, me & Holly, 1990

I am certainly not going to pretend to know why Holly's life ended so very early. But, Holly's illness and her strength reminded many most all of us of what love - love, genuinely given  -looks like.



Lisa, Holly, Allison, Maureen, me & Natalie

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has the best definition of love. It goes like this:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

That description of love is Holly - ever last word describes her. Down to her core, she loved more than anyone I know. She loved more genuinely than one could ever think possible. She loved you when you totally and completely sucked, when you were a moron, when you disappointed her, when you hurt her, when love was the last thing you deserved... When no one else loved, Holly did.

Holly, Jenny, me, Heather & Allison
 
When Holly was diagnosed in 2010 with cancer, it drew many of us back to her. Her illness and story also drew many to her for the first time. As anyone who has followed Holly's story knows, instead of showing anger and bitterness, her journey made her more beautiful, stronger, and more joyful than ever imaginable.

Holly's life will forever be my reminder of genuine love. I doubt I can fill those shoes, but I can certainly try.
 
Won't you join me?

8 comments:

  1. I'm so proud of you Babe. Beautifully said.

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  2. Holly was such a great girl and just like her mother,Cindy, who graduated with me. She is one of a kind. God Bless the ones she left behind for Holly is in Heaven, I am sure ! Great job Babe in writing this Log !

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  3. Life was too short for such a ray of sunshine! Holly will be missed by many. My deepest sympathy for her family and close friends- Carla Eshleman Williams

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  4. such a beautiful person and awesome story told!!! great job babe!

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  5. Micki Schmidt LeonardNovember 14, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    That was very beautiful Babe. I have lots of high school memories of Holly, all great and fun. It is heartbreaking that she she is god. My prayers go out to her and her family.

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  6. Pattie Sweeney-GamertsfelderNovember 14, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    I have not seen Holly since High School , but when my brother called me Sat. and gave me the news I began to cry. I am so sad for her family. Holly always had a smile on her face and I will always remember her as a very kind hearted person. Thanks for sharing Babe.

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  7. Lovely tribute, Babe--I will join you. Love, Lulu

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  8. Tara Rodenhauser JonesNovember 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Thanks Babe for sharing your pictures and story! Feels like just yesterday when I last saw all of you in the hallways at St. Joe. I am thinking and praying for her friends and family!

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