Life is so precious, If we don’t make the most of the short time we have, we will always regret it for the rest of our lives. Today I was reading a wonderful blog about a mother with cancer who still stays encouraged and tries to encourage others even though things are not always the best for herself. It reminded me of my grandmother who passed away from cancer back in October of 2012 only a few months after my wife and I were married.
She use to handwrite personal letters of encouragement to me all the time while I was away at school. Most of the time just to let me know that she hadn’t forgotten about me and was praying for me everyday. I regret not calling her more often, or writing a simple note back in reply. I did on occasion, but not nearly as much as I should have. Gosh, I miss those letters. Ever last one of them has been carefully stored away to be read again when discouraging thoughts start to creep in.
Like this blog mother, she too made it her personal objective to encourage others. The thing that was most important to her, was her family. She would do anything for them. She supported their dreams, their aspirations. She was always excited about every little thing that they tried to accomplish. Even though most of the time she was hurting and tired, once we walked through her doors, Her tears and frowns were stuffed in the back of the closet and her Sunday best would come out.
One afternoon, at the hospital, shortly after she discovered she had cancer, my wife and I were visiting her along with most of my side of the family. We were talking about how we hoped there would be the small pitter patter of feet in the near future. I don’t even know how the subject came up. At some point, one of them asked what we would name them if we had a little girl. We had been tossing several names around, none of which were completely serious because at that point in time, we weren’t really trying. Both of us were still in college and we were wanting to wait until we graduated. My wife and I, being the sentimental couple that we are, had decided we really liked the name Harvie Sue. Partly because my wife has always liked her grandpa’s name, Harvey, and partly as a joke because everybody else in my family never really cared for my grandma’s name, Sue, especially my grandma.
“A girl name Harvey Sue?” they all said, jokingly. We all laughed and the conversation continued and was total forgotten about. A week or so later the doctors informed us that they were going to perform an invasive surgery that would tell them the extent of the cancer. And because of my grandmother’s age, they told us that it might be a good idea to say our goodbyes, beforehand. So each individual family, with tears in their eyes, went in beside her bed. I’m not sure exactly what she said to each of them but, I didn’t have too. The look in her eyes showed that she had once again put on her Sunday best, and encouraging words would soon follow.
When my wife and I went in, she looked at us with a smile on her face, and before we could say a word she said, “You know, I was thinking about that baby girl’s name. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Don’t worry about what the others think. I would be honored to have a little one named after me.”
She came through her surgery without any complications and was with us for almost four more months, but that conversation was one of the last few I remember about her. After she was gone, both me and my wife decided that when we did finally have kids, if the first one was a baby girl, her name would be Harvie Sue. And in 2014 at 1:17am on April Fools Day, our little Harvie came into this world. And everyday when I look into my daughters eyes I’m reminded of my grandma and the legacy of encouragement she left behind.
If there has been someone in your life who has always been a source of encouragement, tell me about it in the comments below. And if they are still around and still encouraging you, give them a call, write them a letter, tell them exactly how much they mean to you.