With Grateful Heart



I spent Thanksgiving at my sister’s house surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Paige, Michael, Maxton and Carter joined us. Todd, Kristy, Ethan and Lance were celebrating with Kristy’s side of the family in Boise. It was rather quiet with only sixteen of us gathered round the table. The food was delicious but the company was the best part. We hugged one another, laughed and shared. It was exactly what I needed.

I stayed overnight with my sister and left her home around noon on Friday driving to Meridian for another chemo treatment. I entered the chemo suite and made a beeline for the south the end of the room. Two people were already seated with their drug concoctions dripping into their ports. I sat in the middle recliner, my feet dangling a foot off the floor. The chairs are huge for someone my size but once the drip line is in place, I can and do recline while the drug is administered.

The gentleman seated to my left was there for his first treatment. His doctor came to visit and give him a list of do’s and don’ts. You cannot help overhearing since all three recliners are lined in a straight row only a few feet apart. His doctor was instructing him on stool softeners. The doctor explained to his patient he was sure he would need them. Smiling I thought, ‘maybe, maybe not’.

I asked my nurse for paper so I could pen my thoughts. My friend, Pam had died and I was having a difficult time. She struggled so this past year. My heart could not wish her here but I had such a heavy burden for her family. I knew first hand what they would be experiencing with their loss; how painful the month of December would be. Quite truthfully the coming year will be extremely difficult for all them because they will be celebrating birthdays and holidays without her and the celebrations will feel hollow and perhaps forced for a while.

Jack called me the next day and asked if I would speak at Pam’s services. My first response was to decline. I told Jack I was afraid to do it. It was not fear of speaking before a crowd for I have spoken to a crowd of 500+ people before. What I feared was breaking down in tears and not being able to finish speaking. I wondered how I could pay tribute to the memory of Pam. I asked him to let me think about it but I knew deep down inside that I would honor his request.

I cry so easily now and often when the floodgates open I cannot stem the flow. The day of the service I asked two dear friends and my sister to pray over me. We had been preparing  the coffee, punch and refreshments for everyone to enjoy after the service ended. The four of us gathered in the kitchen and formed a circle with our hands clasped together. They began to pray over the service, Pam’s family and me.  The fear I felt began to lift. I had a peace that if I cried I would be able to compose myself and continue speaking. I stood before that large crowd of people and spoke from my heart about my dear friend, Pam. I finished speaking and only when they began to sing, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’, did my eyes well with tears. Seated in my chair I gave the heavy tears permission to flow.

4 responses »


  2. Nicki: the speech you gave at Pam;s service was remarkable and so heartwarming – it made me cry also for Jack and his family and Pam’s family – such a loss, but also such a tremendous fortune thay all had in having Pam in their lives. To have a friend like you is better than winning the lottery- you hold so much fortune in your friendship and thoughtfullness of others. I know you are going to be okay – and you know it’s; okay to cry –

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