Aleen Mean


Please note: This post might be triggering for 1) my friends, who lived through this loss and 2) anyone who has lost someone to cancer or similar illnesses.

It seems like cancer is everywhere I look lately. Rebecca Meyer lost her battle last week. Next week will mark Rowan’s 16th birthday. The author of another blog I follow announced that her brother-in-law’s fight is not going well.

I am so, so sorry. My thoughts are with you all.

A lifetime ago, I considered myself a Christian. I studied the Bible and prayed for the salvation of my friends and family while hoping that my conviction was the One Truth. Somewhere along the way I lost the faith I had in an all-knowing God and, with that, I stopped praying.

In the summer of 2012 my fervorous prayers began anew.

There was no ritual. I didn’t bend my knee, bow my head, or even speak. I wasn’t directing them at anyone or anything. They were blank stares into a handful of laundry, tears as I navigated through my day, and whispers in the darkness as I tried to sleep at night.

Please. Please let her live.

As we moved into the fall and we all started to catch glimmers of the future, it changed.

Please. Please let her see the new year.

As Christmas creeped nearer, there was little else I could think of. I don’t think there’s ever a good time to die. There’s always something more to live for, another milestone ahead. It seemed so cruel, though, for my friend to die during the holiday season.

We went to deliver some food and hang out a week or so before Christmas. She lit up when she saw Justin, just like she always had, but it was like seeing the flicker of a candle after knowing the brilliance of the sun. She was swollen from steroids and exhausted from her pain, not to mention the cocktail of medicine designed to help control the agony. She dozed off in the middle of sentences. We helped her move from her chair to the bed to the chair again in a bid to help buy her some comfort.

Before we left, I gave her a hug goodbye. I didn’t want her to know I was crying so I held on a bit longer than I otherwise would have, my head resting on top of hers as I tried to sob silently.

My prayers stopped that day.

It’s okay, Mia. It’s okay. We’ll take care of Mark and the kids. You can go. (I’m sure you’ll hear more about Mia over time. She was an amazing woman whose loss I feel every day.)