Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Tribute to Malynda

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
--Isaiah 40:31 

I know I've been kind of MIA for the past little bit, but I just haven't had words to share. My friend Malynda passed away last week after a four-year battle with breast cancer. And because I've spent so much time on this blog talking about Grandmama, I shied away from writing about Malynda because I didn't want to be "the saddest blogger in blogland."

I think, though, that until I put my thoughts in writing, I can't officially wrap my head around a concept, and this one has been particularly hard for me to grasp.

Malynda is the first peer I've lost. I've been to so many funerals in my life and have lost tons of people who mean a lot to me, but this one was different. Malynda had a son the same age as my Jack. She was 41 years old, and I had known her since I was about 8.

She and I grew up together in church. We both married older fellas that we met at church. Our husbands were friends long before we ever married them. I have known and loved her gigantic network of parents, cousins, uncles and aunts my whole life. They have been by my family's side through every awful and joyful occasion we've ever had: marriages, deaths, baptisms, illness . . .

Malynda and my Stephen at a Think Pink party after her first bout with breast cancer.

I will never forget when my Mo was about 9 months old and was in the hospital with RSV for a week, Malynda came to the hospital one day and spent hours with me. She made me laugh, hugged me when I cried and let me catch a few minutes of sleep while she watched over my daughter.

She was one of the truest friends I've ever had.

Does that mean we always got along? Heck, no. We disagreed over lots of things. She was a strong, opinionated character, and she let me know if she didn't agree with my ideas. And I didn't always think she handled things the way I would have. But at the end of the day, we could sit down, discuss our differences, often agree to disagree and move on . . . always with a hug and an "I love you."

She loved her God, her family and her friends with an intensity I admired. And she fought the beast breast cancer like a champ. I know she must have gotten weak and tired, but she never gave up. What a blessing to those of us she left behind to witness that fight.

She said she might lose her battle with cancer, but she knew the victory was hers in the end. She is with her Lord now, and she can laugh again (she had the best laugh) and breathe freely.

I pray now for her family. For her husband and son. For her parents. For her brother and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts and uncles. I pray they know how much I love Malynda, how much I miss hearing her strong voice singing hymns a few rows behind me in church. And I pray they find comfort in knowing that Malynda  was a strong spiritual example to hundreds of people, if not more, in her short time here on Earth. She was a tremendous blessing to me.

Until we meet again, sweet friend . . .

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