This US Army family celebrated a retired Air Force Colonel on the Fourth of July.
Saturday, July 4th, as our American flag gloriously swayed in the breeze , our yard edged and mowed, the beautiful bunting was hanging proudly with the anticipation of a bar-b-que, blackberry pie and a huge fireworks display to come, we remembered a man.
My husband wrote these words about him:
“Today the world said goodbye to Bill Henderson. If you don’t know who Bill was then you’ve never fought cancer naturally. Bill offered us hope when we had none and literally saved Mrs. Right’s life. Though we never had the honor of meeting Bill, he had a profound and deep impact on our lives. Sometimes there are angels among us, and now he is home. You literally saved thousands of lives Bill and we all benefited from your calm wisdom and your generous spirit. Rest in Peace.”
Some of you know my story, some may not.
January 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (No, I did not forget to capitalize those letters.) I can assure you that I know exactly, the number of days it has been. For the sake of story telling, let’s just say, 3.5 years since I heard those words? Lots of words, lots and lots of words, buckets of panic, fear and pressure. I cannot put into words the urgency in which the doctor laced the words “you have probably one year”.
The neighbor man said, “don’t worry, you might have 3 good months left”. “Friends” were afraid and jumped ship quickly. People I did tell, did not know what to say, so they didn’t say anything to me. They asked Mr. Right questions…..what stage is it?, where is it located?, how long does she have?, when does treatment start?……………………..They all assured him they needed to know these things so they could pray for me. What?
In the first year, other than my family, 2 people stopped by to say hello. Don’t misunderstand, people cared. They sent cards and some emails.
cancer scares the HELL out of people and they didn’t want to be around it. Once a medical person put on gloves to come in and do paperwork! I even was brave enough to ask her if she thought she would catch what I have. She didn’t answer. sigh.
Fear is a heavy, heavy blanket.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know exactly where I am going when I am finished with this life. I am counting on it! I am trying to live a life with that destination in mind.
I just had this feeling that I had some life left to live. I have a husband to adore, love & take care of, children to bother and grands to fuss over and smoother with hugs & kisses and presents and homemade treats and… I just had an inkling that I wasn’t quite through with my mission.
I was afraid of the medical procedures. Not just the pain and humiliation. I was raised with some radically different religious beliefs, so the medical procedures were not something I was gung-ho about. I did not want to be poisoned to achieve healing.
Shaken to my core and on my knees, I made the decision to say no thank you. No thank you to chemotherapy and radiation. I learned that chemotherapy and radiation have a 97.4 % chance of NOT working with breast cancer, not healing, not helping. I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do.
While I can tell you exactly where I was standing, what I was wearing and what I was doing when I made those choices, in no way did I feel fierce or brave or courageous.
I felt beaten. I had no hope.
Enter Bill Henderson.
He was the first person to offer me hope.
Hope is a mighty powerful gift.
Yes, always Mr. Right, some of my family and a couple of friends believed in my decision……..everyone else was extremely polite, friendly, fake supportive, yet thought I was crazy ( and most likely still do) CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs crazy for choosing the path less traveled. Many prayed for me to “see the light” and just get the treatment, just take the pill.
Bill offered up solutions, many, many solutions. He offered up education, research, ideas, kindness, quiet strength, vision, a road map to health & wellness and most of all he offered the golden ticket, HOPE. He believed in my decision. He said, sure you can do this, come on, I’ll show you.
Ty Bollinger wrote a powerful tribute to Bill. You can read it here: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/bill-henderson-cancer-tribute/?gl=582827493
I am healing. Each day, I get a bit stronger. Every once in a while, I have set backs. Yeah, they knock the wind out of me. I am not yet ready to shake the world by the tail and scream at the top of my lungs, look at me.
What I am ready to do is offer HOPE.
Bill Henderson gave it to me. Free. No strings attached. If you ever, ever, ever need a person to offer up hope, call me. I will be there if I can or at least talk your ear off on the phone or make you ask the question, “how many words can one person type while texting?”……No matter what the trouble, diagnosis, issue……..I am your person. I will offer hope. Yes, even when everyone else has let you down, I won’t.
The biggest lesson of my life so far. Offering another human being, Hope.
I was thrown a life line. I grasped it. It kept my head above water.
Bill Henderson saved my life.
I am grateful. I will live a life of gratitude for all the days of my life.
In my heart I KNOW, Bill heard the words that he so deserved:
Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant.