Friday, September 21, 2012

Hero Series post #1

I think that one of the greatest lessons in life that I have learned is through my dear friend Alison. Her and her husband, Clair, came to stay with us a little over a month ago. We were SO EXCITED to see them both. When we were leaving Chattanooga, the last place I went before we drove out to Texas was the hospital, which was were Alison had been staying for the last month. When I went to say goodbye to my sweet friend who I had visit taught for almost the whole three years I lived there, I really thought it was going to be the last time I would see her in mortality. Since then, she has improved significantly and all though she is still going through chemo (for the fifth time, I believe, it actually may be more than that), has lost all of her hair, and is on tons of medication, walks with a cane, and still regularly has seizures because of where her tumor is located, she is still trying to be and do the very best she can. I have learned so many lessons from Alison through the years. Here are just a few... -Almost every single time I would go to visit teach her she would have some kind of sweet bread waiting for me to take home. -She ALWAYS talks so highly of others and she is always so grateful for the service others render to her. -She doesn't make excuses...and she could very easily. She is at church almost every single week, even though there have been quite a few weeks where she is so weak that she can hardly walk or when we'd have to make sure that there were two friends on either side of her chair just in case she had a seizure (which she did pretty frequently during Relief Society for a time). She is also a very dedicated visiting teacher and whatever calling she has she puts her whole heart into it. When I was Visiting Teaching Coordinator, she was one of the supervisors. She would faithfully call me each month with her report, even when she couldn't even remember exactly who she had or hadn't talked to (she had always called but her memory suffers greatly because of her tumor). -Whenever I would drive her around and take her places (she cannot drive herself because of her seizures and hasn't been able to for around 15 years), she would always make me feel so important and she was always willing and excited to help me in anyway that she could with my children. -She LOVES my girls. A couple of times I got letters in the mail from Alison with packs of stickers that she would send to Katelund and Cloey. She would always give them lots of love when she was with them and even crocheted them little purses. Whenever I talk to her on the phone, she always tells me to give hugs and kisses to my girls for her. -She is honest and real. Alison will tell you how she really feels, she is never insincere or dishonest. When she's having a bad day, she'll tell you. When she is struggling because her hair is falling out, she'll cry on your shoulder. When she feels lonely, upset, or discouraged she'll share her feelings and humbly accept advice and/or encouragement. I LOVE this about Alison. It is something that I really admire about her. If you make her upset, she'll tell you. She has no time or patience for fakeness. It is so hard to really love or be friends with someone whom you don't really know because they only put on a happy face for you. It is so much easier to love someone who really lets you know who they are and how they really feel. -She always sends me thank you cards (even for the smallest things). -When I went with her to pick out a wig, she was so strong. I just couldn't even imagine sitting in a chair and letting someone cut all my hair off. I know that it wasn't easy for her, but yet again, she was and is blessed with strength beyond her own. -She believes in me and makes me want to be a better person. She always tells me how creative I am (which I'm really not), or how well I do certain things, or how good of a mom I am (I really have her fooled). Although I don't feel like I deserve the compliments she gives me, they really do make me want to live up to them. One day she called me and asked me if she could come over so that I could give her a hair cut (her hair had started to grow back). I desperately tried to convince her that I was not a hair cutter but that I'd be more than happy to take her to a salon. But, she insisted that I do it. And when Alison has her mind set on something, it would take a miracle to talk her out of it. So I did. I prayed the entire time that the Lord would intervene and direct my hands with each cut I made. He did, and thankfully it turned out pretty good. -She would let me give her pedicures. There were times, as her friend and visiting teacher, that I felt like there was nothing I could do for her. So, I started giving her pedicures and foot rubs. It kindof became our thing. Everytime I would go to visit her in the hospital (for awhile she was in and out of the hospital very regularly) I would take her Red Vine licorice (we both LOVE licorice) and remind her to "put her trust in the true and living Vine" and then I'd rub her feet. Those foot rubs meant the world to me. As badly as I wanted to, I couldn't take her cancer away, I couldn't get her out of the hospital, I couldn't cure her, I couldn't take away her fear, pain, and uncertainty, but I could rub her feet....and I'm SO GRATEFUL she would always let me. -But of all things, the thing that I admire the most about her is her love and faith in her Heavenly Father. When they were here visiting, I was so honored to be with her and watch how Clair would lovingly help her up and down the stairs, in and out of the shower, up and down from a chair, etc. I was so grateful for their example of unconditional love and concern. Yes, I have seen some pretty in love newlyweds, but there is nothing that compares to the kind of love that I saw in a couple who have struggled and sacrificed so much together. That kind of love is rare and incredibly beautiful. Together as they walked hand in hand at the temple, I felt not only my own love for them grow, but also I felt the Lord's loving approval on a couple who has gone though some very very hard times but who has faith and hope in a day when Alison's body will be healed and perfected...a day when they can be free from the burden of disease and affliction. I know, and they know, that this short little time will one day seem but just a moment. One day, Alison will receive not only a perfected whole body, but also a crown of glory for the incredible and beautiful person that she is. Thank you Alison for being my hero.


All Fun Family said...

Wow, Alison is an incredible lady. What a great example of faith and positive thinking.

Lisa said...

I Knew she would be your first hero!! She is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the pic of you two together.

The Dillon 6 said...

Alison was my dear friend, too. I met her in NY. I am so grateful that she landed with a ward family who loved her (and her family) as much as we did. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Alison!!

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