Tuesday, February 1, 2011
GONE, BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN
Mrs. Anna Lois Dean Ward was the second senior friend of mine to die in a week. Mother Seals and Mrs. Ward were both special to me. I enjoyed their company and I will truly miss them. However, I want to share the follow about Mrs. Ward.
In December 2010, I was given an assignment to write a Christmas story. I suggested writing what Christmas means to a person who was told around Christmastime they have cancer after surving cancer thirty years ago. My editor liked the idea and gave me the green light to take that approach for a Christmas story instead of writing the norm. I chose my senior friend for my Christmas article because of her faith and strength while she battled the rare cancer, multiple myeloma. I wished I could have written about everything we talked about that day, but I am limited to 300 words on an article. During our interview, December 10, 2010, she confided, that her doctor said her labs were not looking good and she needed to schedule an appointment. With a somber look on her face, she said, "I believe my cancer is back." We talked a little longer before I said my goodbyes to her and her husband.
I was devastated when I had to call Mrs. Ward and tell her my editor scrapped the article because I knew she was excited and looking forward to reading it on the published day. I could not bring myself to tell her why. I lied and said they decided to run various pictures of Christmas decorated homes. However, according to my editor, it was opinionated and not joyful. As far as I am concerned, what Mrs. Ward said about Christmas is the truth! Newspapers and magazines are in trouble today because they want to sugar coat, white wash, and pretend commercialism has not taken over every holiday including Christmas.
Mrs. Ward was an ANGEL on earth and I feel blessed to have known her.
Below is the article the newspaper decided not to run because it was too opinionated and not joyful enough.
In the 42 years Anna L and Joel T Ward were married, they celebrated many Christmases together. Their Christmas in 2005 was a sad one because Anna was diagnosed with cancer, multiple myeloma. Christmas is a blessing in Mrs. Ward's eyes. Christmas in 2007 was very hard for her. She was in the hospital for 29 days feeling very low at one point and felt as if she was not going to make it. Hope left her for a while, it was then she felt herself in the hands of the Lord and began believing, without a doubt it was possible for her to be healed. "I have learned if you do not believe you can be healed your battle is going to be harder." said Ward.
Ward received news her cancer was in remission in 2008. Ward said, "For a short while, I did have that little doubt, that this is it, I am going to die. People are inclined to accept the word cancer as their fate. I did that to; when I was told, I had multiple myeloma because I survived breast cancer 30 years ago. I am thankful to have been able to participate at my age to harvest my stem cells to treat my cancer. No matter what medical science has to offer, I truly believe that I am here because of God's Mercy." Ward continued, "I would tell anyone that you have to believe that God is real and that he can do what he says he can do. My savior was born Christmas Day; Christmas means to me that he came here to forgive us for our sins. I believe that if my Savior had not come into this world to save mankind, I would not be here today. Therefore, Christmas is a time to celebrate God's gift to us, the day his son was born. Christmas has a higher meaning to it. The world has taken the focus of Christ out of Christmas and has put a commercial focus on Christmas. That is very tragic." Anna and Joel Ward plans to spread the Joy of Christmas Day visiting people in the hospital wherever they can.
My friend did not get a chance to spread the joy on Christmas Day in 2010 because she was sick by the cancer that aggressively invaded her body again. She was admitted into the hospital until the day she died January 21, 2011.
Do you think her story was opinionated without joy? I do not. To me it is a testament worth reading, how faith and hope gives you joy to believe and know in your darkest moment it will be all right.