Preparing for Death: How one Family Relies on Faith for Strength
I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. Maybe you have something to teach them or you are left with a lesson. Either way, I don't think our interactions are just coincidence.
Last October, I saw the story about a local woman who received a special video message from Chris Hemsworth - Yes, Thor! Michele Adams was in end stage colon cancer, and her daughter was able to get a hold of his trainer and rush the video message of encouragement to her. I get way too excited about celebrity interactions, so I immediately reached out to my friend, Andrea, who is related to the family, so we could interview Michelle on the show.
I was not prepared for what I was going to hear / feel during that interview. Bobby and I were a little apprehensive to mention the C word or, worse yet the D word (death). Obviously, end stage of anything describes exactly that - The end. So, we were prepared to lead with Marvel questions and talk about what led to her getting the special message. Take a moment and listen to our interview, before you go any further. I actually went back and re-listened to it, too.
After our phone chat, Michele messaged me, and said that she would love to meet us someday. I knew that we needed to schedule something right away, because time was obviously a factor. Bobby and I met Michele and her husband, Tom, at the Henderson Cracker Barrel. Again, my ears were not prepared for the conversation that we had.
They both talked about how close they became over the years, and they learned to appreciate all of the little things in life. Their approach to cancer was based in their faith in God. Michele said that no matter how bleak things looked, God always surprised them somehow. Whether is was unexpected income sources, so Tom wouldn't have to worry about the house payment, or how understanding his fairly new employer was about the extra time off he needed. Things just had a way of working out. This was not by coincidence or luck, but by Faith.
At this point, I'm not even trying to hold back my tears. I was amazed at how resilient their relationship was. I think we all know couples that can barely make it through a week of the flu, without losing their minds. Michele fought cancer for many years, and it actually brought them closer.
We found out that getting chemo is very brutal. You might get a week of feeling normal and 3 weeks of feeling like death. Sometimes the long-term benefits are no longer worth the day to day suffering. That's why Michele decided to stop treatments and really enjoy the time she had left with her family and friends.
Thanks to Chemo Buddies, Tom and Michele were able to take a vacation that included Epcot. Their trip fell in between a hurricane, but guess what - The skies cleared, and so did the crowds, just in time for their arrival. This was Faith in action.
I meet a lot of people in my line of work, but rarely do I keep in contact with them. Michele and Tom are exceptions to this. We messaged each other many times. Here are some of my favorite 'Michele Qutes'.
When I look in that mirror, I can never see my real reflection. I’ve learned to trust my pants instead. When I find a pair that I love, they are what decides whether I can have the extra bowl of ice cream, or stick with just tasting a tiny spoonful. I’m so glad that God put us together. You make me smile. ~ Michelle Adams
Hey girlie: you were on my mind today and just wanted to take a minute to pump you up. You are perfectly awesome JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. I know that you are concerned about body image. With cancer, I’ve learned that certain things are out of my control. I’ve been extremely obese, and exact opposite skeletal. I’ve always felt happier as skeletal, but that is also when I’m actually the sickest and closest to death. ~ Michele Adams
The coolest thing I’ve noticed is that God built every single people group around a dinner table. It is the center of everything...even Heaven. Don’t let body image get in the way of that. You are perfect...inside and out. Embrace YOU, love YOU, take care of YOU...with Christ as your center. ~ Michele Adams
And the final quote I'll share with you is fitting for today:
You will die when God calls you home, and not a moment before. ~ Michele Adams
As I wrote this, Tom updated Michele's Facebook page to say that she checked into Heaven. The fact that I chose to write this article today was no coincidence. I have been meaning to write it since we met in October. I just couldn't get the words to come out.
If you're a praying person, please lift up Michele's husband and her 2 daughters. Pray that Tom has learned how to take care of all of the animals and that Michele is an INSPIRATION in Heaven (Inside joke) Death is certainly the hardest for the living. Do like Michele advised, "Love the people in your life in the time that you have them'.