Sometimes it feels like you just can't take anymore.
At about 10:45 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28th, my wonderful friend, Darlene Anderson, went home to be with Jesus.
She had physically suffered, but spiritually excelled for the past 2 years with her earthly battle with cancer. Her body lost on Wednesday. Her spirit won.
For the past few years, she had been a pretty amazing warrior with her faith. Because she knew what it was like to go through chemo, that was one of her things - going and encouraging people in their battle while they were at chemo. She would talk, she would pray, she would encourage. She was part of a group of woman who were trying to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. She also would be called regularly by her surgeon when he had a similar case in another patient so that she could call and encourage that fellow cancer patient. Instead of using her illness to mourn, she used it as a source to rejoice in God's goodness. I know even at the end, she was sorrowful to leave her 5 children and her 3 grandchildren, but she was confident in God and His mercy and she was ready to see God's face.
I can't say more. That was her life. She was amazing. I remember one time, she had a tree in the front yard (their house is surrounded by a kind of "forest") that she wanted removed and, as she didn't have the time to wait for anyone else, she grabbed a chainsaw and took it down herself. She got me to do tri-atholons with her (I do not do marathons, but she could convince me to do anything!). She taught me how to waterski. There was almost nothing more she loved than our yearly trips down to Wears Valley with the youth group and you could always hear the muted excitement in her voice when we needed to grab one of the old ranch pick-ups to haul something. She was one of those fierce warrior-woman....
But, I can always see her back mudroom in her house which had, and still has, a border of little handprints all around the top that she had hoisted each kid up to participate in. Her kids are all grown now, a few with kids of their own, but she could never bring herself to paint over those little handprints.
She went gaga over her grandkids.
However, the whole center of her life was Christ. She talked about him with such passion. She lived Him with such passion. She wasn't perfect and she would admit it, but she truly loved and knew love because of Christ.
Skiing at a youth group winter retreat
Bowling at a senior dinner for youth group
Here's one of the pick ups that Dar loved! Although I think she was partial to the little stick shift Datsun because it was definitely more of a challenge!
Spelunking! It does exist in the mountains of Tennessee!
With youth group at Wears Valley Ranch in Tennesse
The 3 Amigos - we spent a lot of time together -- Me, Dar and Michelle
Ted and Darlene
During our trip to Kazakhstan
I love you Darlene and I will always think of you every time I put on ANY pair of skis!
I also wanted to say that having my aunt pass and then Darlene and then looking back, on October 2nd, at the 2nd year since my dad passed..... I look at my coming trip to Budapest in a different light.
I know who these three people were and I know what their hearts were. I know what they would say now and I know what they were saying when they died. I want their lives to be a testimony to my girls over in Budapest and I want so badly for them to know the joy that dad, Aunt June and Darlene had and have now. They didn't have their comfort in a religion or in good things that they had done (which, though they were flawed, they all did many good things), the children they had raised or the grandchildren they had spoiled. They didn't have their peace and comfort in the memories they had or the families and friends they left behind - I know that the last thing in their heads was Jesus and I know that the first thing in their heads when they "woke up" was Jesus. Everything else fades, but Jesus lasts.
Much love to all the Andersons!