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received a phone call from one of my closest cousins, Toya, informing me that her mom Carolyn was in the hospital and they believed she had cancer. I was in complete disbelief when hearing the news. I had just completed my treatment in June and we all thought cancer was a thing of our past, because trust me when I say, as much as Toya was there for me, we went through cancer together. When they confirmed that she did in fact have cancer, my cousin told me that her mom wanted to talk to me personally as it seemed like the hospital she was at did not have the proper solutions. I immediately left my gym session and headed up the hill to the hospital because I knew she needed me and I believed at the time that I had good insight. On my way up there, I cried and talked to God wondering why our family keeps going through this revolving cycle of cancer. I cried knowing the pain Carolyn must be in. I cried because I was headed to a hospital. Cancer was still so new to me that I got sick every time I walked into a hospital remembering my journey, as though it was still happening. However, I knew I had to push those feelings aside and be her strength. I arrived at the hospital, wiped my tears away, steppcustom youth basketball uniforms
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ed out of all of my feelings and kicked it into gear, and asked myself “What did you do? What did you want someone to tell you when you found out you had cancer? How can you support her”?
Once I walked into the hospital I saw Carolyn and gave her a big hug. While I wanted to cry my eyes out, I knew crying was not going to help her situation whatsoever. I started asking questions to learn more details about what was going on. Unfortunately, it seemed as though the hospital had already given up on her, which was strange, but oh so familiar. You see, when I experienced the worst pain in my existence, I went to the ER. After running several tests, the doctor informed me that I needed to go home, take some aleve, and follow up with my primary doctor. I raised absolute hell knowing that something was wrong and I desperately needed help. When they finally took the time to do their job, they discovered that “something” was wrong, but couldn’t quite pinpoint what that something was. However, they finally admitted me into the hospital and after being lied to for a week (which is a blog within itself) I checked myself out against doctor’s orders. I went to Loma Linda hospital, which refused to give up on me until they discovered my issue and helped me find a solution. Having gone through all of this, I just knew that Carolyn was in a similar situation. I just knew that the doctors did not know what they were talking about and that being at a community hospital was not a good idea. So I suggested that she also pack up and head to the best of the best, Loma Linda, where she could find better solutions. Carolyn heard this and seemed so hopeful in the plan and a day or so later she also went to Loma Linda to move forward with her treatment plan.
After a few short days of being at Loma Linda, I went to visit. It was at this time that I learned that there was nothing Loma Linda could do to help her. Her cancer was so far gone that treatment was not an option. I was flabbergasted. The news took my entire breath away knowing that I sent her to a place that gave her a death sentence, instead of speaking life into her, as they did with me. I left the hospital that day and cried the entire night away wondering why life was so unfair, wondering why hospital technology was not more advanced, and wondering why cancer was trying to take yet another family member of mine. I was so frustrated because I had such hope in Loma Linda, such faith in their ability, and just knew that they would be the answer. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I was so disappointed that I even sent her there that I didn’t want to look my cousins in their eyes because I spoke so much hope into the situation. Yet Carolyn needed much more than hope at this point. She needed prayer. So praying is what I did, day in and day out, because it was all so confusing and unsettling to my soul.
For the next few weeks, Carolyn did what she could to fight for her life and hang in there. I remember on September 19th, 2017, my cousin called me at work and said that the doctors did not believe she had much time to live. That was such a surreal moment. I immediately told my boss I had to go and told my husband to please care for our child as I had to head up the hill to see her again. On my drive up, I cried so much asking God why, begging for a miracle, praying the doctors were wrong, and waiting for Him to show up and show out because that’s what God does best. Instead, he gave me nothing in return. No peace, no signs, and no confirmation that my prayers were even going through. I went into the hospital and her hospital room was full. Everyone was talking, crying, praying, and just trying to deal with what was taking place. Carolyn could not speak at the time, but her eyes would open every now and again. There was one moment that I saw her eyes open and decided to go up to her bed and share a few words with her. I got really close to her and said something along the lines of this:
Carolyn, I know that you are scared right now and I am so very sorry that things are happening the way they are. God’s plan is just so confusing at times, but I know you and I know you are worried about your daughters. I just want you to know that they will be ok. I will always be there for them and you’ve done one hell of a job with them. They’ve got this, trust me. I love you so much and please give my dad my love.
It was at this moment that she looked at me as though she heard and comprehended everything I said. She gave me this look of affirmation as though she was telling me to thank you and ok. It was as if we had a complete conversation without any words ever coming out of her mouth. It was the best moment I ever shared with her and something I will always hold so near and dear to my heart. Being in a room full of people talking, it was as though it was just the two of us. In the wee hours of the morning, Carolyn passed away and God called her home.
While many people in my family have died of cancer before Carolyn, this one felt different. It hit harder because I had just gone through stage four cancer earlier that year. I did not understand why I survived and she didn’t. I did not comprehend God’s plan. I felt so guilty even going around her daughters because I felt as though they despised my presence because God had different plans for our lives. While they said nothing nor did anything to make me feel this way, I was in my feelings. This is when I discovered that survivors’ guilt was a real thing.
After crying for weeks about this, they finally announced that Carolyn’s funeral was set to take place on my birthday, which was devastating because “Why was I still here to celebrate another year, while Carolyn would no longer be able to celebrate with us”? This I will never know, but I did know that God told me to say something at her funeral service. I don’t know why God nudged me so much knowing how much guilt I felt, how ashamed I was that I led her to false hope, but He would not get off my back until I committed to saying something at her funeral. This is what I said…
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Shanee Wilson. I’m one of Carolyn’s honorary nieces who will miss her dearly. Let me first just say that I am so thankful to have known such a loving soul like hers. We sure did have some good times in the short amount of time we had together. From our random conversations of forcing each other to get married, the drinks, laughs, jokes, drama, and trips. I am definitely going to miss Carolyn’s down-to-earth, laid back humble spirit, who also happened to be one of my mom’s road dogs.
As many of you know, God called Carolyn home due to stage four cancer that crept into her body, taking her home to rest at last. Although God’s actions may not necessarily make sense to many of us during times of adversity like this, I can honestly say that Carolyn’s path IS the better way! You see, in January 2017, I have also diagnosed with stage four cancer myself, and let me just say that God truly did save Carolyn from all the drama.
He saved her from picc lines by taking her straight to paradise.
He allowed her to avoid chemotherapy to meet him at the cross.
He turned her weakness into wings.
He saved her the shame of hair loss by giving her the confidence of walking alongside our heavenly father.
He took her out of her pain while giving her everlasting pleasure.
He kept her from blood transfusions by giving her eternal blessings.
He’s giving her a well-deserved break from commuting, by sending her to her final destination once and for all.
He took her from feeling fatigued around the clock, to never feeling restless again.
He promoted her from radiation to riches.
He saved her from surgeries and gave her- her son back.
He didn’t want her to be bothered with oncologists as the angels prepared her for early retirement.
He decided to prevent her from feeling lonely by giving her longevity.
He rescued her from cigarettes while giving her… Well actually, I’m lying, she probably bargained with God at the gates of heaven to sneak the cigarettes in on the low.
He saved her from constantly living in fear that cancer will someday return and he personally escorted her straight to his kingdom with a newfound faith.
And most importantly, he allowed her to skip past the fight and routed her directly to freedom.
Freedom from this world. Freedom from this messed-up society that focuses on social media more than being in the present. Freedom from the ignorance the human race has to offer. Freedom from a world full of judgmental people. Freedom from living in fear of being a victim to one of the many tragedies that have sadly become the new norm. Freedom from the struggle. Freedom from the falling foundation that Americans have worked hard to build. Carolyn has the undeniable freedom that we all wish we had. She is free. Now that’s what I call LIVING!
And always remember that although the road may look extremely bumpy right now, you must trust in the Lord at all times.
And, to my beautiful cousins, Toya and Zanika, I love you both deeply and know for a fact that Carolyn raised some true warriors. I know this is hard, but always remember that we serve a strategic God and that all things work together for the good.
Isaiah 66:9 says:
“In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born”.
So now that he has given you both your pain and your newborn’s, it’s time to now live up to your mom’s legacy until your beautiful blessings understand just how much of an impact she made on each and every one of us in this building today.
Thank you and God bless you all.