Many of you already know my partner, Melissa Brown. I spoke at a recent event about what she has meant to me through my cancer journey, as my friend, my Little Pink right arm, and a special woman that helped me in the journey to become the person that I was meant to be. This week, I asked Melissa to be the guest blogger- her words are inspiring for all of the women in our lives.
I guess you could say I come from a long line of strong women. My great grandmother, Julia Price, aka Granny Price, lived to be 98. Widowed at an early age, she reared 7 children in the mountains during the Great Depression. She worked the land and produced food for her family – all without a microwave or any modern conveniences. Living robustly strengthened her mind and warmed her heart. As a child I remember her worn hands and her gentle heart.
One of her daughters, and my grandmother, Versa McPherson, my Mam-Maw, made her way to Burlington, NC, on a train with all of her belongings in one suitcase, in hopes of finding work. What strength she displayed to come to a strange town where she only had one friend. This is where she met my grandfather, “Poppy”, and thus later my mother, another strong woman.
Up until May 3, 2011, Mam-Maw was the longest living pancreatic cancer survivor of Duke University Healthcare. Her last 16 years were filled with just as much zest and devotion as when she stepped off the train so many years ago.
For as long as I can remember, Mam-Maw has been by my side at every important event. She showed up joyfully, filled with grace and love. She has listened to my stories, my troubles, my triumphs, and most recently, my journey with Little Pink. When she broke her hip in November, we spent more time together just talking. She loved to hear about the sea of miracles with Little Pink.
Each visit was always filled with sharing the doors that were opening, the prayers that were being answered, and the people who were stepping up to share their houses, their businesses, their money and their time. Her words of encouragement and appreciation filled me with more strength for the journey.
As I look back on my childhood memories and in the present, she taught me through her actions that loving on someone can be as simple as a routine of popcorn and the Dukes of Hazard on a Friday night sleepover (oh yes, I’m a true Southerner) or just showing up and being fully present. I can walk into our 1st season of retreats and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that living strongly doesn’t mean living extravagantly, but living passionately full of strength and honor for the glory of God!
Please pray for Melissa and her family this week as they deal with the loss of "Mam Maw". Let her strength be with the family during this time.