Vicki 2, Cancer 1
We used to say things like, “Vicki 1, Cancer 0” because cancer didn’t win the first battle my mom had with cancer.
Then we’d say, “Vicki 2, Cancer 0” because cancer didn’t win the second battle either.
But then, it did, and we stopped saying that. The score changed. “Vicki 2, Cancer 1”. But the cancer got the final point, because it won…like for forever. Cancer beat her.
I’ve struggled a lot with the concept of cancer. At first, cancer didn’t bother me. I don’t know why, it was just that my mom was gone and I didn’t really care about the how. Cancer is hard to ignore though. It’s everywhere. Someone’s dad gets diagnosed, someone’s aunt dies from it, little kids are fighting it.
What if I get cancer? Will I want to fight? I watched my mom suffer and die a horrible death from it. I don’t think I could be brave like she was, strong, disciplined, resilient, faithful. She handled it with so much grace, and never used it as an excuse.
These thoughts flood my head while I’m at work. At first they’re good thoughts, I’m smiling remembering her character. She was a fighter, and trusted God all the way through, but suddenly I’m clinching my stomach, like you do when you get hit in the gut. My mind starts irrationally communicating to me that it’s inside of me, cancer, it’s growing as I sit there. How weird of a feeling it must be, to have something growing on your bones, in your spine, that is actively trying to kill you. My posture changes to be a little more tense, is this that feeling? This feeling in my gut? My breath is getting a little heavier, slower almost.
“You are OK. This is not real.” I repeat to myself on the way to the bathroom where I lock myself in a stall to sob loosing all sense of grounding, but sometimes meltdowns just happen when you miss someone a lot.
“Vicki 2, Cancer 55 years of life just vanished”
“Vicki 2, Cancer 34 happy years of marriage over”
“Vicki 2, Cancer 28 years of motherhood finished”
The sobs are getting quicker because cancer won and I couldn’t control it. Nobody could control it. My mom couldn’t. The doctors couldn’t. It just grew, silently, and nobody caught it, nobody noticed.
I haven’t told a lot of people that story of taking cover in a bathroom stall. It’s hard to articulate irrational emotions, because when you feel them they seem so real, but when you’re looking back at them you can’t really comprehend why they did.
Fast forward to me driving alone with the new Passion album playing in the background. I wasn’t really listening to it, I was concentrated on my GPS. A song came on and suddenly I missed my turn. All the feelings from the bathroom stall came rushing back. The same, but different, because this time they were filled with hope.
“The cross meant to kill is my victory…
…The holy Lamb of God, makes us alive again”
Suddenly cancer didn’t win.
Christ came to give us life, and to give it to us abundantly. Meaning He didn’t hold back. The cross meant death, but it stopped meaning death when Jesus was raised from the dead. Everything stopped meaning death. Death was over, done, invalid, defeated, null, void, ineffective. Christ set us free from sin and death. He set you free, me free, and my mom free from death.
I used to sob in worship services where we sang songs about how death lost its sting (it’s a favorite phrase put in a lot of songs, by the way). I would think, it hasn’t. I’m still, very much, feeling the sting. Death hurts, it’s confusing, and I don’t know if you ever fully move past it. Like everything in scripture, it’s not as straight forward as death just losing its sting. We’re still on earth feeling the sting of it, but not as much as we could because there is so much hope within it. Hope because Christ defeated it. We’ll enter into eternity and never feel the sting of it again.
“Vicki ∞, Christ set her free from sin and death and she is no doubt rocking eternity right now, Cancer 0, death is defeated, it has no power for Christ was raised to life”
Cancer might have taken her life, but Jesus left her a beautiful inheritance. Cancer might be the reason she’ll never meet my husband or my kids, but Jesus gave her eternity. Cancer might have won in a comprehendible worldly sense, but Jesus won way before.
“The cross meant to kill is my victory.”
How much freedom is in that?
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant place; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” Psalm 16:5 & 6