Thursday, October 8, 2009


Lily has survived cancer for one year today. 365 days ago, Lily, Phillip, and I walked into an ultrasound and came out with the weight of cancer on our shoulders. There were moments that time stood still and tomorrow couldn't come fast enough. Yet here we are.

A few months ago, I thought about this day. I thought...we are going to throw a big party and celebrate. But here I sit not so sure I want to celebrate this day our lives were changed forever. I am not so sure I want to celebrate the thing that made this year the toughest year I have ever had- and I've had a couple really tough years. DO I want the kids to celebrate this thing that put a cloud over their year? Do I want Lily to celebrate the thing that caused her so much physical and emotional pain? As we plug along finding our normal again, I'm not so sure I want to celebrate something that takes us back to that day. Had I not been adamant that something was wrong, Lily may not be with us today.

And then I think, why shouldn't we celebrate? Lily is a survivor. We are survivors. We live on with the disease and embrace life. We celebrate life. Cancer is horrible, but no one lives forever. Accidents claim loved ones every day. Other diseases and sicknesses ravage people all the time. If anything, Cancer is a reminder to tie up loose ends and keep them tied- you never know when that knot will become your life line. But like any other anniversary or celebration, is one day a year enough? Why not celebrate everyday? As any survivor will tell you, reminders of the disease are everywhere. Pink ribbons, yellow bands, lemonade stands, and fundraisers. These reminders are symbols of survivors and memories of fighters in a battle that is far from over. We walked into Chili's a week and a half ago and every wall, the back of every booth, and every window was covered in colored chili peppers. I had to fight back tears because every chili pepper represented not only a generous donation to St. Jude's but someone whose life had been touched by a survivor or a fighter.

So, I've taken a few moments and reflected. Cancer is part of our lives now. But it will have to wait in the wings for now- we've got too much living to do. I think the best way to celebrate today is to have a regular average day. Have you hugged a survivor today?



  2. No, but we'd love to. :)

    This year has changed all of us too. We can no longer see the Chili peppers or the address labels or the Spirit of Survival marathons without thinking of a special little spitfire survivor we know, choking back a tear for the shear number of children (and adults) affected, and saying a prayer (even in line at the grocery store, if need be)that God would grant grace and peace to these families--especially that one family that I love so much.

  3. Lily and her entire family are survivors. Thank you for your honest journals Jen, to help us all understand why--you are all survivors. All my love to you and your family---you are rich in so many ways.

    Tracy Heiman

  4. There are special "Lily" balloons on the walls of Cold Stone and Texas Roadhouse in AZ. Hopefully those balloons can stretch our arms from AZ to Hawaii to reach out for a hug for everyone!


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)