Recently, I was inspired by a woman who ordered our book online. When I emailed to let her know the book was shipping, I asked how she came to learn about it. Seems she saw an article published in the Lee's Summit Lifestyle magazine. And seems she is only 40, with kids, and facing "metastatic triple negative breast cancer stage 3b." Ugh.
My hearts cracked open as I read her email. She continued, "I've accepted the reality of the diagnosis and just want to be sure my kids and family have everything they need should I pass at a young age". Oh dear I think, wishing mightily that what she describes won't happen, but knowing from my own experience that eventually it will. I admire her brave demeanor in the face of adversity. I just plain admire her.
Then she says what Christy and I have said at book signings, and will undoubtedly continue to say, "I don't want there to be more stress and strain than necessary in sorting out all the details." She is talking about everyday details we usually take for granted like where her kids go to the doctor and which snacks they like the best after school. She's talking about her funeral wishes and she's remembering the stories she wants her friends and family to retell after she's gone. Where the cash is hidden in the house. Where the insurance information can be found. What the dog eats. She closes with, "Thank you! I'm really looking forward to the book!"
This makes me happy and sad. Happy that she is trying to make it easier on herself and her family. Sad that she has to do it now. Our culture is not good on death and dying. We celebrate births, birthdays, weddings, promotions, retirements, accomplishments and good deeds. We do not celebrate death and dying. We grieve, we mourn, we avoid. She is not avoiding. She is tackling this head on. It is a tribute to her, her grace and her willingness to get it all out there. She is a role model for the rest of us. Whether we live until we're in diapers again or just until tomorrow, the absolute greatest gift is the organization of your life for the ones you leave behind. We all will leave a legacy. Hopefully a happy, less hectic, more organized tribute to ourselves, and for our loved ones.
We have a hero among us. She apparently lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Here's the article by Anne Potter Russ (page 28).