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In Memory of Ann (Recipe for Life)

Photo courtesy of my friend, Heather Morrow, from Hocus Focus Photo.

You’ll have to excuse me for this one post, as there is nothing food related involved.

You may remember a post I wrote last September about my friend Ann and her heart touching vow renewal ceremony with her husband, Hal, of 10 years. Ann, if you will recall, had been facing a brave battle with cancer for the past 9 years. This past Saturday, July 17th, Ann was taken from our world and is now in heaven, I am sure relieved to be rid of the illness that has been inflicting her body for the past 9 years.

This past Wednesday evening was her visitation. Instead of getting a babysitter, my husband and I decided to split up. He’d go first, come back home to watch the kids, and then I would go. As I was standing in the long line, a true testament to how much Ann was loved, I started to get frustrated with myself. “I should have just gotten a babysitter. I want my husband with me. This is not the kind of thing anyone should have to do alone.” Even though I was surrounded by friends, I wanted Nick, my rock, with me more than anything.

As I got closer to the front of the line where Hal was standing, I looked up and noticed him, standing all by himself, accepting the condolences of friends and loved ones. “This is not the kind of thing anyone should have to do alone.” His plus one, his shoulder to lean on, his best friend, his parenting ally… his person who should be doing this type of thing with him is gone. It just isn’t right.

Watching Hal and Ann over the past nine years, as they have faced cancer head on, has been one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. As I reflect back on what Ann and Hal have taught me through their example of faith and love, there are a few key things that I will take away from having the honor of knowing Ann.

  • Always have faith. Always. Ann’s faith in God through her battle with cancer has been unrelenting. With every dose of suffering, she accepted it and gave it all up to God. If you want to be touched forever by her incredible faith, all you have to do is go to the final blog post she was able to write on July 4th, 2010.
  • Value your friendships. Ann was always one of those people who truly made time for her friends. Even though she was feeling crappy. Even though she may not have been up for it. Ann knew the value of friendship and made her friends a priority in her life. It was witnessed yesterday in the rows and rows and rows of pews filled with people mourning her death at the funeral. From her closest of friends in the front row, to those of us who were lucky enough to call her a friend scattered throughout the church, there is not a single person who knew Ann who won’t say that watching what unfolded over the past 9 years was not a true testament to the value of friendship.
  • Be real. Ann was about as real and authentic as it gets. She didn’t try to be someone else. She didn’t mince her feelings. She was real, honest and raw.
  • Be courageous. In the face of death, she showed an incredible amount of courage. In the face of cancer, she showed an incredible amount of courage. Many times, we’d all wonder, “how can she be so strong?”, but she was. She was one of the most courageous women I have ever met and I will forever be reminded of her strength, especially when I am feeling whiny and pathetic.
  • Have fun. Ann turned shaving her head into a big party and then transformed herself into “Foxy Roxy” with her pink wig. Her laugh was infectious. There is no doubt that Ann knew how to have fun. Sometimes, attitude is everything, and Ann proved that to be true each and every day.

I hope that, even though many of you didn’t know Ann, you will take a look through her blog and be touched by her faith, courage and love. She will be deeply missed but always remembered.

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Comments

  1. Kristen you have the most amazing talent in writing…your words define Ann’s journey and faith perfectly. Thank you for sharing!! Much Love, Jen

  2. That’s so very sad. I work in pediatric oncology and every day I am thankful that my family is healthy. It puts every small problem into real perspective.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet friend. She sounds like just the type of person I would hope to be. I am so glad you had in your life and I am so, so sorry for your loss. I love you! xo

  4. i’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. and i totally have tears in my eyes reading your post! thank you for sharing… off to check out her blog!

  5. What a lovely post. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It is heartbreaking to think that her husband and children have to go through the rest of their lives without her by their side, but I’m sure her spirit will live on in each of them.

  6. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. This gave me chills and brought tears to me eyes. She taught you some incredible things and I’m glad you passed them along to us.

  7. Kristen, what a lovely, heartfelt tribute to your friend. I am so sorry you have lost your friend, but what a blessing it must have been to know her and to witness her faith and grace.

  8. Ashley Boehm says:

    Wow Kristen that was a very powerful and sweet tribute to your friend Ann! Heather’s photo (as always) seems to capture Ann’s love of her family despite her struggles with cancer. Thank you for sharing this lady’s life and contributions with us.

  9. Kristen – there’s nothing I can say, no words I can offer that will lessen the loss you feel right now. But know this – Ann’s spirit continues to live through those of you whose lives she touched – and that, my friend, is the absolute greatest legacy any one of us can hope to leave on this earth. Remember her. Write about her. Share her with the rest of us. It is well with my soul.

  10. My heart just sank when I read your post. What a lovely tribute you made to her. She’ll be watching over you all I’m sure. I’ll be hopping over to her blog now with a few tears in my eyes!

    I have been battling cancer since January when I was diagnosed, but it seems the tumour had been growing for at least 4 years. I just finished treatment last Friday, but still not sure if that’s an end to it!

    If/when my time comes to depart I hope I have a friend like you LOL.

  11. Kristen– My condolences. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. Ann sounds like she was an absolutely wonderful person to know, and I am so thankful that you shared your lessons from her in this beautifully written tribute. Very inspiring!

  12. Sarah R says:

    You have written such an amazing tribute to what sounds like a very amazing woman. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Jan Taylor says:

    Kristen, I read your blog and read your friends Ann last entry. She truly was an amazing woman. I know her family will take comfort knowing she is now home and they will forever have a guardian angel. I will pray for her family and loved ones in this time. I know you were blessed to know her and she was blessed to have a friend like you.
    I know we don’t see each other the way we would like too, but I am greatful everyday to have You, Nick, Stacy and Bryon in our lives. It was a chance meeting that turned into a life long friendship.
    Jan

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss, Kristen.

  15. This is such a touching post. I’m so sorry for your loss. Ann sounds like an amazing person.

  16. What a beautiful tribute to your friend, Kristen. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  17. Kristen, you have reminded us of the true value of friendship and how dear it is.

  18. This post brought me to tears as I am sure you shed some while writing it. Thank you for reminding us to remember the important things in life!

  19. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Your words brought me to tears. What a great tribute to your dear friend.

  20. I didn’t know Ann, but her legacy and your thoughts are inspirational. I feel blessed to have you as a freind for as much as you care for your friends and family is engaging.
    My thoughts are with her family.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristen, Susan Mallery. Susan Mallery said: A beautiful tribute to friendship and love from @dineanddish. http://bit.ly/beNO19 [...]

  2. [...] resuscitate” orders… nurses came in and out just trying to keep him comfortable. It was one year to the day that my friend Ann lost her battle with cancer. I was cursing cancer and hating what this disease had done so quickly to my [...]

  3. […] you lose a friend or family member to cancer, you tend to step back and take inventory of how you live your life. […]

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