Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Carolyn's Legacy--Prayers and Beauty
We said good-bye to our precious Carolyn last week. People, the service was a true celebration of life! I just have to share a little about this remarkable young lady.
Carolyn had an extremely rare form of cancer for almost three years. She had undergone numerous surgeries, several rounds of chemo and radiation, and countless other procedures. She was in remission for several months before the enemy came back with a vengeance. Carolyn endured it all with a stong faith and unstoppable spirit.
Carolyn made a public profession of faith just shortly before she became sick and received the cancer diagnosis. She faced her disease with a faith that you would expect from someone much older who had known the Lord for many years. She was an example for all who knew her. This was obvious at her funeral service when many people shared examples of how she made a difference in their lives. Just listen to this story that was told by the grandmother of another little girl with cancer. What a witness.
Carolyn was in the hospital for almost two months starting in late January. I believe it was during this time that this woman and her seven-year-old granddaughter met Carolyn and her family. The other child (Since I don't know this child I'm going to call her Clare--not the name the grandmother used.). Clare had the same very rare cancer as Carolyn. As I understand it, this form of cancer is not only rare, it is even more rare for girls as young as these two.
Carolyn was often in great pain during this hospital stay. At times she had such pain that she could not stand for her bed to be touched. However, one night Clare was having trouble going to sleep. Carolyn let her crawl up beside her. The girls wrapped their arms around each other and snuggled together.
This sweet grandmother told about sitting in the darkened room listening to the girls talk. Carolyn told Clare that they should pray. According the the grandmother, Clare knew some memorized prayers, but didn't really know how to pray specifically. Carolyn taught the younger girl to talk personally to God and pray about specific things.
The girls did not pray just for themselves. They talked to God about the other children in the hospital. They prayed for those children to have their pain controlled; for God to be with the families, etc. Carolyn taught Clare to look outside of herself to find others who also needed God's care. She taught her to simply talk to God about the things that were important to her at that time.
That story, told at the funeral, made such an impression on me. What a lesson! I have certainly been doing some thinking about my conversations with God.
And the butterfly at the top-- We released butterflies at the graveside service. Carolyn had told her younger brother that her funeral was "going to be fun." In a conversation with my sister about how that could appropriately happen I mentioned a butterfly release. I didn't know exactly what that was, but it sounded pretty and a somewhat "fun." After getting enthusiactic approval from her parents, my sister told me to "go ahead with the butterflies." Huh--I was just brainstorming ideas--but you know how it goes--Sometimes if you have an idea you "get" to do it.
I gladly arranged for it. It was much easier than I anticipated. Some other family members helped with the cost. At the end of the service Carolyn's brother, Jacob, released the gorgeous Monarchs under a beautiful Texas sky.
Carolyn was a "butterfly girl." Actually she loved all animals and God's creations in nature, but she had a special attraction to butterflies. The release was a wonderful way to honor her and her love of God. Lots of people were wearing butterfly pins and clothes adorned with butterflies because they knew about Carolyn's interest in them. What a lovely sight it was! The butterflies were very "people friendly" and were, of course, immediately attracted to all the flowers. I didn't have my camera, but some other family members took pictures of the butterflies. If I get copies off the pics I will share some of the butterfly antics.
BTW--If you have an interest in butterfly releases you might be surprised to find out how easy it is is to find a source. I just goo**gled "butterfly release." I found Vibrant Wings which happened to be very near where we were in Texas. The butterflies were delievered to us the morning we needed them. Most companies Fed*Ex overnight. Kathy gave us excellent service on short notice. She graciously tolerated my anxiousness about everything going well! :-)