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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. Kristin, my condolences to you. You wrote with such grace and love for your friend Ann. I read some of her entries and from the few entries I could see she was a woman of grace. I will keep her family in my thoughts as well as you.

    Thank you for sharing her with us and the gentle reminder that life is short.

  2. I didn’t know Ann but I was moved by your words. I will visit her blog in tribute.

  3. What a touching post you wrote in tribute to your dear friend. So many of the things that you learned from her are things we all should try to remember during our day-to-day lives.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and my thoughts are with her family – and yours, too.

  4. Kristen, What a lovely tribute to your friend. We learn so much from the beautiful people in our lives. I hope you are comforted by the wonderful memories you shared with Ann.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. Ann sounds like an amazing woman.

  6. I don’t remember what I was thinking about before I read your post because all I can think about now is Ann, her family and you. What a terrific friend. I’m so sorry for your loss and am sending thoughts and prayers to you.

  7. Friends who are great examples of how to live are hard to come by. I wish I’d known her.

  8. Kristen, thank you for sharing your friend Ann with us. The words you write in this post are beautiful and essential. We all need Faith, Courage, Strength and a great sense of humor. We are all here to help support each other and somewhere out there is a Support for all of us that shines down. We are here for you friend :) xo

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your sweet friend. Very touching tribute to her. Hugs.

  10. Pat Wogan says:

    Kristen, what a beautiful post! You do have an incredible talent for writing . Remember that Hal has courage, too. He and his family will need the support of friends like you and Nick in the future . Ann’s spirit will be with you all, and Your Father in Heaven will shine down on you all and keep you safely in His Grace. Love.

  11. What a touching tribute to your beloved friend and a poignant reminder to all of us to live our lives to the fullest and focus on what is important. My prayers are with you and her family.

  12. Judy B. says:

    This world needs more people like Ann…bless her…her suffering is over and she is now pain free. May God bless her family and friends. Wish I had known her but your tribute makes me feel that I did in a way.

  13. What a beautiful and touching tribute to your friend. I am so sorry for your loss.

  14. Kristen,
    I only learned about and began reading your blog last year as part of the fundraising you did for Ann, and I’ve always enjoyed your posts. This one truly embodied what Ann was all about and I know she’s smiling down on such a beautiful tribute you’ve given her with your lovely words. She was such a gift to us all and I’m so grateful for all of the lessons she taught us with her faith-filled life and grace-filled death. May she rest in peace and may peace be with you!
    Amy

  15. Hi Kristen, thank you for sharing Ann with us. It really is amazing to witness the strength and courage our friends carry with them through their battle with cancer. I’m sorry for her loss but I feel sure she touched so many lives. What a beautiful picture you posted. We all need to say a prayer for this family. I pray God will surround them with the comfort of friends and peace that only God can give. As always I enjoy reading all your posts. God bless you! xo

  16. What a lovely tribute to your friend (and her husband too.) I’m sad to hear about it; it sounds like she was a wonderful person.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It sounds like she was a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  18. This is such a lovely tribute to your friend. My husband has been through cancer twice, so I totally understand the battle with that horrible disease. It definitely does change your perspective on everything in life. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

  19. What beautiful words that you have written about your friend Ann. It was a wonderful tribute to her. You have such a gift and I am so sorry about the loss of your good friend.

  20. I remember your post last year about their wedding vow renewal ceremony. I was in tears. Reading this today brings tears to my eyes as well. What a strong woman she was even in the face of death. May we all learn something from her journey. Blessings to you in your loss!

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