Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet Elaine


I wanted you all to meet Elaine. She is a brave heart. She has been fighting cancer since 2004...and REALLY fighting cancer since 2007. Just last week, she decided to stop fighting. She is going to spend her time enjoying her 3 beautiful sons, the rest of her family and her friends. And basking in the love of her heavenly Father. She is an amazing display of courage and grace, humility and human-ness, and humor in the face of tragedy. Here's a bit of her story and why I wanted to share it with you.

Elaine and her husband Jim started out their life together much like many of us have--Jim had a great career, and Elaine stayed home to raise their 3 sons. While I don't know what their thoughts were, I wonder if Elaine's thoughts were sometimes like what mine are: while I love these crazy, challenging growing-up years, won't things be a little easier when the kids get older? Won't it be nice when Buck and I can sit down and have a nice long uninterrupted conversation? Elaine and Jim never got the chance to see all of their boys graduate from high school together since Jim was diagnosed and later passed away from cancer in 2002. Not even 2 years later, while Elaine was still putting the pieces back together, figuring out how to mother these children on her own, figuring out how she was going to live the rest of her life without her life's partner, she too was diagnosed with a different, but still very rare form of cancer. At first doctors diagnosed it as low-grade and slow-growing. In 2007 however, it showed up with a vengance in her lungs and other smooth muscle tissue. She fought it like a warrior--traveling to Boston for treatments, clinical trials, you name it, she did it...for more time with her boys, and more time on this earth. Her prayer was that of Hezekiah in the Bible--that God would grant her 15 more years--years that she may see her boys graduate, that she may even be able to hold their children in her arms.

The past few months have shown that was not God's plan. A few short weeks ago, it looked like Elaine might not even be able to see her youngest son Nate's high school graduation. But the prayers of the faithful lifted Elaine and her family up--Elaine saw that day, and was able to celebrate with a great graduation party for Nate. She also saw her son Steven graduate from college the same weekend, via live-streaming online. She was so humbled and blessed by those events. She was thrilled. The following Wednesday she had her next CT scan and all of her tumors had grown, despite continuing chemo. She surrendered. She thanked her Lord Jesus Christ and surrendered. She is now living joyfully, in the moment, with her children and loved ones surrounding her at home. She is ready to meet her Father, her Creator, and to have that certainty...ahhh...what peace. The peace that passes understanding.

Now, why am I writing this? Is Elaine a dear friend? No. While I call her a sister in Christ, she is not a close friend of mine. She is a friend of a dear friend, and her story has touched my heart deeply. I think because I lost a parent at a young age, younger than Nate, I know the tough road that is. I know how it feels to feel "orphaned" in a sense. And it is hard, hard, hard. But I know Elaine's boys will be OK. I am OK. Elaine has prepared them well. Jim prepared them well. But not only this, I think back to the time when Elaine had young children, probably the ages mine are now. My recurring thought is "this is not the life she imagined for them...or for herself." We don't know what God has on the road ahead of us. But if our eyes are fixed on Him, it doesn't matter. The reward...the ending to the story...it's already taken care of.

Also, I write this because I want Elaine to be KNOWN. To be known by you all...the 5 people who read my blog! :) I want you to know of her courage and her dignity and her tenacity and her FAITH. Her legacy is evident through her sons, but I want you to know of it as well. I love the words to this Nichole Nordeman song "Legacy":

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
Want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace, who blessed Your name, unapologetically
To leave that kind of legacy

Thank you all for reading about Elaine. I know her family would appreciate your prayers as well. And now a final Scripture that will always make me think of Elaine.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress. I will never be shaken. " Psalm 62: 1-2 Blessings to you all~


  1. Thank you for sharing that, Laura! I'm glad I now know of Elaine. I need to be reminded that there are amazing godly women out there like her - something for me to aspire to and something to bring a reality check to my life.

  2. Beautiful lady. Thank you for sharing her story. I will be praying for her. Amy

  3. Wow, I think we can all learn a lot from Elaine. What a testament to "keeping our eyes on the Prize" as we can be so caught up in the things of this earth...

  4. Thanks for sharing. I am definitely crying now... :) What an amazing story. Makes me think life isn't that bad today.