I want to tell you about someone very special. I didn't know her extremely well, and I only met her a few times. She is my daughter-in-law's beloved aunt, and she passed away on October 1, 2013.
Suzanne was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 7 years ago. She faced round after round of chemotherapy (18 in all, I understand) and numerous radiation sessions as well. I only met her a few years ago, after her diagnosis. Her determination to beat the cancer was impressive. The people around her supported her and she was something different to each person. She was a warrior, even though she didn't belong to any branch of the military. She was a teacher, without a degree in education. She was a hero, but she didn't belong to a fire or police department. She was determined that she would beat the cancer, not the other way around. She astounded doctors with her strength and resilience.
I am one of the people she taught, though I was not a student in a class. She taught me that if life is handing you lemons, make your lemonade and count your blessings. Because life sometimes chooses to lob hand grenades at you. Suzanne caught those grenades and threw them right back at cancer. Throughout her ordeal, she looked for the good in life. Not saying she didn't have her bad days when she felt down - anyone would. But she would bounce back appreciating the little blessings - time with friends and family, a beautiful blue sky, a day at the beach.
Even with a recent diagnosis of tumors in her brain, she still had radiation treatments in an effort to combat the cancer. However, she realized that it was time she went Home. She said her goodbyes to friends and family with a celebration of their love and support. Last week, she entered hospice. She made a decision and left on her own terms. Cancer didn't beat her - she died peacefully with family around her.
Death is hardest on the ones left behind. Suzanne is in a better place - it's just a place we can't get to yet. Her parents were there to take her hand and accompany her into the next phase of life. The separation is difficult, but we are all the better for having known her. Her race has been won, though we wish that the course she was given to run could have been longer.
Please say prayers for her sons, and for her sisters, brother, nieces and nephews.