She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Her name is Joy, and she was named so appropriately because she exudes joy.
She is funny (her Tommy Boy impressions will have you in stitches), she is thoughtful, she is a good listener and she is so very kind.
She is a wife, a mother, a sister, a Sunday School teacher and a great friend.
When you are around her, you feel seen and you feel as though you are the only one that matters to her at that moment. She offers advice and friendship, which is rare.
She asks the hard questions (you know those ones that you hope no one will ask, the ones that make you confront how you really are), and she waits patiently for an answer. She tells you the hard things that you don’t want to hear but need to.
So when she called me in the evening and said she needed to talk with me, I knew it was serious.
She told me she had a mammogram a few months ago and things were good, but noticed a change and went to see her doctor. She immediately went to get another mammogram and got confirmation that she had breast cancer. She wanted me to know so I could be praying for her. As a wife and the mother of two teenage boys, she was faced with some fears and anxiety and didn’t want to do it alone.
As she told a few other friends and began making plans for surgery and then chemo and radiation, our friends banded together to help her. One sweet friend, a breast cancer survivor herself, came up with a great idea for chemo bags, another friend was on it with meals and how we could help in other ways. She was definitely not alone.
Surgery, then another surgery, and then chemo was what her winter and spring consisted of. Before each chemo Friday, friends would gather at her house and gift her a chemo bag, filled to the brim with goodies to help her before, during and after her treatment. We would spend time praying with her and letting her know how much we loved her.
Her last chemo treatment was in April.
The night before her last treatment, her living room was full of friends, a chemo bag full of goodies, and a celebration that this was the last treatment before radiation. As she opened each thoughtful gift, she began to cry and wanted to say a few words.
She shared how thankful she was for each of us. She said she knew she was going to have to walk through this cancer journey and she knew that she had support, but she had fully felt like we had walked WITH her through every part of this journey. She had felt every prayer, was thankful for every call, text, and meal, and not once felt alone.
Her journey is not over. We will continue to walk with her,every single step because walking with Joy has changed a whole group of women that thought they were a blessing to her and ended up being blessed by her joy.