Have you ever had someone enter your life in such a way, that your head is spinning and you are thinking "Who is this person and where in the world did they come from?" Well, that's what happened about 3 yrs ago when Reenie came to my house for Bible study. A friend invited her, and she showed up again and again and again! She had a strong personality, and didn't mind airing all her dirty laundry right off the bat.
I noticed when we first met that she had a tad bit of a limp, but I didn't really think much of it. Well, fast forward about 30 mins, and we find out she limps because she had a hip replacement due to effects of radiation. Approximately 1 yr earlier, she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I'm not sure if y'all are familiar with the statistics - but the symptoms are somewhat non-specific to the disease, so it's usually stage 3 or 4 by the time the diagnosis is made. Meaning, the statistics are not good, to put it mildly.
Well, this woman's testimony was absolutely mind-blowing, and what a love for God she exhibited! The more that we got to know her, the more we appreciated her talent for writing (a sample of which is at the bottom of this post), and also I craved her love of life.
Fast forward 1 yr, and she had a recurrence. Fast forward another yr, and we now have our second recurrence. In between there, she met a wonderful, Godly man. They decided to get married, and it was a simple, beautiful, tear-jerking ceremony. After bad labwork, followed by worse labwork - she opted to forgo any further chemo. She was so sick, and so tired of all the meds, trips to the oncologist, trips to the hospital, basically just tired in general.
Last Thursday night, I sent her husband a text asking him if I could bring him some groceries, because at this point he refused to leave the house - 100% understandable. I got a text back from him saying that he didn't really need anything but if I wanted to bring some drinks and bread that would be great. It went on to say that if I wanted to say good-bye to Reenie, then I should probably plan on doing it when I delivered the food. In my mind, I had already done that, because we all knew it was coming, and that it was just a matter of time. Details aside, he was absolutely pitiful and heartbreaking to see, and Reenie's condition broke what was left of my heart.
I cried all the way home, and the rest of the night into the early morning hours. I attempted to go about my normal day on Friday, until lunch when I always call Danny. It was then that he informed me that she passed a few minutes after 10 that morning. I could barely swallow what food was in my mouth. Really? I mean, I know that she was in bad shape the previous night....but really? Even as I type this, and I know that I have already been to the funeral. How can she be gone? My "bigger than life" Reenie?! Her husband called her "Tigger on Red Bull" at their wedding, and I don't think that there has ever been a better description!
Reenie is the tall one standing with the pink swirly shirt.
Because I know that she wouldn't mind me sharing her vows, here is just a VERY small sample of the woman that took a little piece of our hearts to heaven when she passed away:
My Personal Wedding Vows to Kenny (May 2, 2010)
Kenny, you possess such genuine and decent character. You remind me so much of my dad…of how he loved my mother and modeled to so many people what a wonderful husband truly looked like.
You KNOWINGLY are entering into a marriage with someone who has been pretty sick for the majority of the last 3 years, in and out of remission from a cancer diagnosis, and continues the battle still today. I’m amazed at how, even with you knowing the increased possibilities involved in profound care giving, you are still more than willing to do it. You are truly the epitome of someone being willing to sacrifice everything for someone else.
A lot of people, sad to say, would run the other way at a time so monumental as this. Most people, even when loving someone, wouldn't be willing to risk the possible future involved, and would go with their "reasoning" instead of their heart.
God knows my heart and my gratitude for bringing us together. The very One who brought us to each other, is the One who will carry us through our future. Today, as we unite in marriage, I am thankful for each precious day we will have.
I love you.
by Reenie Crabtree Foster
Reenie's funeral was very, well.....Reenie! Just when you thought you were going to run out of tissues, our pastor would read something that she wrote, and the chapel would erupt in laughter! I have come away with "Reenie's Lessons":
- Celebrate every day
- Rest in God's power
- Be yourself and live to please God, because nobody else's opinion matters
- Laugh and the world laughs with you
So here's my challenge to you......approach life according to the rules above. And tell those in your life that you love them at every opportunity that arises. Better yet, make opportunities to tell them!