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Luminaria Ceremony, Relay for Life, South El Monte, Ca

Luminaria Ceremony, Relay for Life, South El Monte, Ca

For two weekends in a row I was invited to speak at Luminaria Ceremonies for those whose loved ones lost the battle to cancer. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve never hoped for such an invitation. Nor do I hope it will become my niche. It is what it is for this season. And hopefully, this post will not be viewed as ungratefulness, but rather the honest truth that no one–no one wants to relive the loss of a loved one to cancer or otherwise. But as much as these were by far the most personally challenging speaking events for me, I went for God and for Dad…with the hope that light and life will pour into those whose hearts ache…

You can watch it here (El Monte, CA) or read below what I shared on those nights.

Hello. My name is Laura Krämer. I am a wife, mother, friend and sister. I am a writer, speaker and blogger. But tonight—I am a daughter. I am a daughter who lost her dad to cancer.

Last April—my 69 year old, healthy and active father, was diagnosed with cancer. Six weeks later—the day after Father’s Day—I held my dad’s hand as he took his last breath.

dad

After my dad’s diagnosis and before his death–I sat with him during his chemo treatments, sat with him in silence, listened to his heartfelt memories, read to him… and then he was gone.

That fast.

Too fast.

But this is what I know.

He. Was. Never. Alone.

Never.

Not in the grief of devastating news, not during chemo, not in any of those moments of pain and despair— he was never alone. His devoted wife, his kids, and grand-kids, friends and His God stayed with him—not just in the last moments, but in all the moments…all of them.

And so…

This is what I know.

We are not meant to live life alone. Not in the joys—or the sorrows. Life can knock us down, cancer can put us down for the count. But we have a choice…I had a choice.

Will I offer my hand to another who is poisoned by death to help and carry them through. Will you? I chose to journey with my dad fully present and engaged with his reality. It was hard. I could have stuffed my hands in my pockets and let others carry him through. But I chose to walk a sacred journey with him. And truly that is what it is. A sacred journey.

This is what I know.

Every person’s journey through cancer is hard and painful. But by being present [with them] comfort comes.

Only 5 months after my dad died, my dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

cancer.lesley

Her hands reached out for others to hold and carry her through the hardest battle of her life. Because she knows—she can’t do this alone. And I [and many others] won’t let her.

This is what I know.

There is strength in numbers. There is an unbreakable bond when we link arms together and choose to  s.t.a.y.  on the journey with our loved one…even in the midst of heartache, pain, disease and death.

This is what I know.

No one wants to be alone—no one. We are strangers you and I, and yet I can look upon your faces and know I am not alone. We here are bound together by a common journey. No, not just cancer—but being human. We must journey this life together. Always together.

This is what I know.

Cancer sucks…and it is sneaky. It sneaks in like a stealth bomb…completely unsuspecting—and ready to kill on contact. It rips through and tears up the insides of an incredible designed body that was meant to live and thrive. It makes its entrance without invitation and wrecks havoc. It is an ugly and repulsive thing.

This is what I know.

I miss my dad. And I want him back. I really do. I want him to give my boys those plastic baggies filled with bubble gum balls and coins. I want to feel his kiss on my forehead and tell me everything will be okay.

This is what I know.

Cancer kills life. But I choose to cling to the Life-Giver.

This is what I know.

Cancer is big, but there is something even bigger than cancer.

Hope.

Hope is bigger than cancer. Hope is brighter and lighter. Hope brings life in spite of the diagnosis.

This is what I know.

As one who lost a loved one to cancer, my grief become my valley. Yet, still—even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death*

Grief will not own me.

Grief will not stunt my hope.

Grief will not overwhelm me with fear.

Because I am not alone. My God is with me. Always.

And if you are in the valley battling cancer—my dad would want you to know you’ve done nothing to deserve this sickness, this disease. Nothing.

May I declare over you:

Cancer does not own you.

Cancer does not stunt your Hope.

Cancer does not have power over you.

Because you are not alone. God is with you. Family and friends are beside you. Always.

This is what I know.

Looking into the sea of these glowing lights…it could shake me up inside and bring fear of cancer

But no…

I see instead, a sea of Hope. These lights are the same glow that lives in each of you. The one you lost is not gone. They live forever in you. These lights are evidence of the light they brought into this world–into your world.

May these lights here symbolize a community holding one another in the midst of battle and grief.

 Let’s journey together.

cancer.collage.blog.jpg

~Laura

Thank you Sharon Garkow of Relay for Life-South El Monte, CA and Amy Arnold of Relay for Life-Covina, CA for the honor to share my heart at the Luminaria Ceremonies. Blessed.

Thank you dear friend Lesley Glenn. Even in your own battle you come to support me in my grief. You are a gem. The rarest of treasures. I love you. {You are not alone}

Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips was played at the Relay for Life, Covina CA and I just had to share it here. So good.

Please Remember Me by Scotty McCreery My dad loved Scotty. I used this song for the video at his memorial. I think you’ll like it.

*Psalm 23

 

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