I believe in fighting. Not out of aggression or the desire to harm others but to combat personal challenges, grow, rise to an occassion, and yes – sometimes out of anger.
Two of the most amazing women I know were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 – within two months of each other. My mother (Pat Becker) and my mother-in-law (Carol Weber). I was 27 years old. My husband and I had three small boys and we had to wonder if they’d ever get to know either of their grandmothers.
After only a brief trip through the usual grieving process, both women reached the stage of acceptance. Ironically, that’s when the fighting began.
I believe my mom fought out of anger and determination. As a woman supremely in control, cancer was not a thing that would get the best of her. In spite of being told she had roughly 6 months to live, my mom put on the gloves and went into battle. She educated herself on her illness, sought aggressive and experiemental options, got angry. And won.
I believe my mother-in-law fought out of motivation and faith. God was testing her strength, preparing her for future battles, reminding her of her blessings. She never complained. She prayed, counted her blessing of having a large and loving family, and thanked Him for helping her through the pain and fear. She passed the test.
Almost 15 years since their diagnoses, both women are alive, strong & beautiful in mind & spirit and their bodies are still fighting. Both women wear a veil of fear when accousted by what may seem to most as even minor aches and pains. They worry, ‘Is it back?’ or ask, ‘Do I have to fight again?’ and wonder, ‘How much longer do I have?’
Both women taught me (and all of us who love & admire them) that sometimes we simply have to fight. We have to look a demon in the eyes – sometimes those eyes might be our own – and accept the challenge. But they also showed me that fighting can be done with grace, honor, and love.