I didn’t know her. But I knew her story.
Her name was Lori. She was the friend of my friend, Sallie.
Last year, Sallie shared Lori’s story with some of us from church. She was asking that we pray for her situation.
Lori was battling inflammatory breast cancer and had been told she would not live much longer. She had a husband and two small children under the age of seven.
When I heard this, I was cut to the heart. Just thinking about her situation made me ill.
Those two children of hers would soon lose their mom. I put myself in Lori’s shoes and imagined what it might be like to tell my sweet kids that I would soon be gone. Just the thought of that conversation occurring brought tears to my eyes. No child should have to live without his or her mother or father.
I also found out from Sallie that Lori was doing some amazing things as she waited for her life on earth to come to a close. She spent much of her time writing letters and putting together videos and photos for her children to have once she was gone. She wrote letters for all of the major life events that were to come for her children—birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc. She put together letters and cards for all of those special days and tucked them away for her husband to give to them when the appropriate time rolled around.
How amazing is that? What a wonderful treasure those items will be to her children.
Sallie said Lori’s spirit throughout her cancer battle had been amazing, and that her attitude and outlook were so inspiring. Her faith in Jesus through it all had been unwavering.
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I kept getting updates from Sallie about Lori’s situation, and the updates continually worsened. Shortly after Christmas, Sallie told me it looked as though Lori was nearing the end.
On a cold January day, Lori let go of this life and went to be with the Lord.
Shortly before Lori died, Sallie shared these words about her friend:
“I don’t even have the words today. Praying for a beautiful friend, Lori, as she prepares to enter the kingdom of heaven today after one grueling battle with inflammatory breast cancer. She has battled with so much courage and GRACE. The grace she has shown is astounding. I’ve learned so much from you, Lori. Praying for peace and comfort for your husband and your sweet young kiddos, as well as the rest of your family. You deserve to rest in the arms of your Lord and dance on the streets that are golden.”
After the funeral, I approached Sallie and asked her how Lori’s family was holding up. She said they were doing okay. Then, she shared a moment from the funeral that I will never forget.
Lori was a physician. One of her fellow physicians (who was also a close friend) gave the eulogy. At one point during her message, she shared a very touching story.
She said Lori absolutely loved putting her children to bed each night. She cherished that time. But as she neared the end of her life, she found she could no longer climb the stairs to make it up to their bedrooms.
Her solution to this problem?
She crawled up the stairs so she could get to their bedrooms and do one of the things she cherished most in life.
That one simple act speaks volumes to me about the love and devotion this young mother had for her two little children.
If you are a young mother and you are reading this right now, I pray you will etch that scene into your memory—that scene of a woman struggling to crawl up the stairs to be with her children.
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How many times have you sped through the bedtime routine with your kids? How many times have you dreaded brushing teeth and putting pajamas on squirming (and sometimes uncooperative) bodies? How many times have you purposefully whipped through a short storybook and given quick kisses on foreheads just before turning out the lights? How many times have you dreaded the process and hurried through it as a result? How many times have you just tried to survive through it rather than soak it in?
I know how exhausting it can be at the end of the day when you have a household of small children. Sometimes you find yourself dragging once bedtime rolls around, and all you want to do is get through it so you can sit down and relax a bit.
But I would like to challenge all of us moms to remember Lori’s story when we are having one of those nights.
Remember that she wanted so badly to be able to continue to put her children to bed each night, but is no longer here to do it.
Remember that, even when she couldn’t walk up the stairs to get to her children’s bedrooms, she crawled.
Let’s honor her by looking forward to bedtime instead of dreading it.
Let’s honor her by cherishing what she cherished.
Let’s honor her by remembering that she crawled.
Originally published on Parks and Recreation