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Friday, October 17, 2008

Giving For Rosie

I totally planned to write this incredibly funny One Day To Give post about Tonggu House and the infamous Cat That Sat on our Mat. And then my day to give became anything but funny when my dear friend and next-door neighbor Rosie passed away earlier this week.

She was 48 years old.

A wife.

And a mother to six-year-old twins.

It still amazes me how time can just stop on a dime. My schedule cleared. My priorities changed. And life did not go on as before. My neighbors, always wonderful, surrounded Rosie's husband Ring and their two children Pocket and Posies with love and prayer. ItalianMama, who already poured so much of herself into Rosie's Disney Day last spring, cleaned their entire house from top to bottom while the family waited in ICU for Rosie's pain to finally end. Apple weeded their flower beds, raked leaves and did a couple of loads of laundry. Other neighbors made food and telephone calls, gathered for prayer meetings and cried together.

And I? I almost got a DWC ticket.

It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. It drained me more than all of the other tasks looming before me: making meals, keeping a daily inventory of the contents of their refrigerator and freezer, watching the twins for an afternoon, sharing hugs and memories with neighbors and friends as I spread the devastating news, holding Ring's hand - crying together - as we realized that I was the last non-family member to see Rosie lucid and awake.

I wish that I could say my One Day Week to Give made me feel good inside.

But it didn't.

It felt feels incredibly painful. I usually see humor in everything, but it's difficult to laugh when a momma leaves behind young children, when a spouse as amazing as Ring becomes both a father and a mother, when a woman as remarkable as Rosie leaves this earth at such a young age.

When we moved to the neighborhood in 2003, Rosie and Ring had just brought home their infant twins, born at 25 weeks, after months spent in the NICU. The twins each weighed less than two pounds at birth. Years of therapy followed. Rosie first received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006, bringing with it a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. The family experienced a short period of remission, then doctors discovered the cancer metastasized in her liver and lungs the day after Christmas 2007. It traveled to her brain this fall.

I never saw Rosie at her best; yet I DID see Rosie at her best.

I give this week - not because it feels good - but because my friend Rosie made me feel good. She was a strong woman, a faith-filled person, a doting mother. She laughed along with me at the Tongginator's antics. She encouraged me to always remember to place God first, others second, myself third.

So I give: not just for a day, not just for a week, but for a long, long time to come. Because that's what Rosie believed in. Because that's what God believes in.

And I owe it to both of them.

And Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22: 37-40)

39 comments:

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

Beautiful and selfless because as you said, this wasn't and isn't a one day thing.

Thank you.

Carla said...

Beautiful...

and big huge hugs to everyone. I wish I were there to help you help them. {HUG}

Sharie said...

What a wonderful remembrance. {Hugs} and lots of prayers to you and Rosie's family!

Sharie

McEwens said...

Beautiful post..... I wish there was something more we could do .. wish I was closer....

(((hugs))

CC said...

Oh TM, that was just beautiful. I wish we ALL could give more. To Rosie's family and to all those who are hurting right now.

Just Keeping it Real said...

God bless you for reaching out to your neighbors in a time of need. It's so hard to understand why. Thank you for being the kind of person we all should strive hard to be. My prayers are with you and Rosie's family and the whole neighborhood for lasting memories and peace during this sad time.

LindaJ said...

My sympathies to you and the family. Wonderful post.

Queen B said...

Prayers to you and to her family. Beautiful post.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. I'm crying with you TM. You all are in my prayers.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

What a beautiful triubute to Rosie. Ring and the twins are fortunate to have such a caring and compassionate neighbor and friend.

I wish there was more I could say or do to take the pain away....I will continue to pray for you all!

Lisa

Beachy Mimi said...

Wonderful post. I loved learning more about Rosie. Lifting all of you up in prayer.

Rhonda said...

Beautiful post to what must have been a most wonderful friend. I'm truly sorry for your loss.

Shara said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but I know you were a huge blessing to your neighbors. I'm sure your giving meant more than you can even imagine.

Lynn said...

Beautiful!

Lisa said...

What a lovely legacy your dear friend left in your heart...a beautiful tribute to your friendship and to her. Thank you for your vulnerability in letting us see what God is doing in your life right now. Praying peace and strength and comfort for Ring and the twins and for you as you love on them, TM.

Stefanie said...

A much needed reminder to cherish the truly important things... those that would remain on our schedule (children, husband, friends) if tragedy were to strike. Thank you for sharing your sadness and in doing so, thank you for prompting us all to give to others an a way that would honor Him.
Hugs from here to there.

Briana's Mom said...

Just beautiful...

Kathryn said...

I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your neighbor and friend, how sad!!! 48 is so young and it is heartbreaking to think about her family, my deepest sympathy to them!!!

jennifer said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your dear friend. I am so sorry for your loss.

sandwiched said...

Absolutely heartbreaking...

No words.

Happy Mommy said...

Very very sad! I will pray for her family.

heidi said...

May God bless you for your goodness.

Michelle said...

Oh, my! I am just soooo very sorry! There really are no words. My heart just aches for her family and the pain they must feel.

May her family find peace in knowing that she went Home with the One who loves her the most. The pain she endured here with her horrible illness is now washed away....

I will keep this family in my prayers...

We are THAT Family said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I have rooted for Rosie ever since I read the awesome disney day. My heart breaks for this family.

Giving in this manner is gut-wrenching, but necessary. Thank you for inspiring us to reach deep.

You are a blessing.

3D said...

Such eloquence and humour. I am so sorry for the loss so many are experiencing.

My deepest sympathies.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a loving tribute.
I'll be praying for you and Rosie's family, that all of you will especially feel God's loving arms around you.

Debz said...

I'm so incredibly sorry.

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman.

Praying for you all.

Juliette said...

Beautiful post on this sad day...
So sorry.

The Momster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Momster said...

Our prayers are with you all...what a remarkable blessing to have had Rosie in your life, albeit for such a short time, but imagine the glorious homecoming you'll have with her again one day.
Prayers abound.

Genny said...

I am so thankful you stopped by and commented so I could find your site.

This post touched me in so many ways...I'm writing an article for a magazine right now about premature babies and I have a new appreciation for the stress and heartache that happens when your precious babies are in the NICU...

My mother-in-law and friend were both diagnosed with breast cancer in the last two years (and have both won their battle)...

And it made my cry to think about Ring and what he and his children must be going through.

This family will be in my prayers. I'm sure that all you've done to help them has meant more than you'll ever know.

Janet said...

That is just so beautiful, TM. I am so thankful that Ring has you to count on, and all the neighbours too. May God bless you all, and give you the peace you so desperately need. I will pray for you all. Hugs.

Tammy said...

What a wonderful tribute to what sounds like an incredible woman. And your post about Disney coming to Rosie was awesome!

I know that your neighborhood will help take care of this family...
an extension of your family!

God bless and prayers for Rosie's family.

Michelle said...

I am so touched by your words in honor of your dear friend. I wish there was more I could do, but for now, I will pray.

Hugs to you,
Michelle

redmaryjanes said...

I am so sorry. I will pray for Rosie's babies and her husband. This I just cannot understand. I believe that God is in control, but I just cannot understand.

Shawnstribe said...

no words TM, just hugs and wish we were closer to help out too!!!
love
s

Donna said...

A beautiful tribute to a dear friend and neighbor. My heart aches for everyone as this is such a tragic loss.


Donna
Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

I am sorry you lost such a wonderful friend. Your tribute to her was so touching. I hope you find comfort and peace as you continue to serve those around you during this difficult time. Take care.

prechrswife said...

What a precious tribute to your friend! (((((Hugs)))))