The Story That Changed Me | Part 1
I’ve been mostly quiet on this topic over the past 9 years. If you know me well, you know my story, at least part of it. I’ve been often asked why I haven’t written about it. Why I’ve been mostly quiet about it.
To be honest I don’t think there’s one simple answer. The world has a way of turning and keeps on turning no matter what life may throw at you. The couple of years following August 10, 2009, were very vulnerable for a lot of people and I in no means wanted to break open half-healed wounds, awaken pain, or stir up questions that weren’t meant to be asked in that very season. And of course that time was a season of healing for me.
And now, living this new season of my life that includes honoring my husband, raising my children, living on a different continent and juggling life in general hasn’t made it easy to sit down and share about the seasons that have so gravely shaped who I am today. And then there’s, what I would call, the main answer… if you know me I have either given you this advice or you know I do my best to live by it… and that is to follow peace.
Things had been off for weeks. Something was up. It was Friday, the day before Memorial weekend of 2009. I received a phone call from a fellow co-worker that was very alarming. I took off work, hopped in my car, dialed the oncologist’s number and drove down the hill to pick up my husband who, very obviously, was not doing well. The doctor instructed me to bring him straight to the hospital where she will put him on a 72- hour chemo drip.
In disbelieve, I arrived at the parking lot where Corey, my husband, was standing. The man who had the biggest heart for God and people and who was an incredibly talented TV and film producer, stood there. With his car keys in his hand, lost in that parking lot, he looked disoriented and very frustrated. I jumped out of the car, gently touched his arm and guided him to the passenger seat of my car.
How was this happening? I asked myself. Just 5 months ago, this past Christmas, he was considered a cancer survivor after a 5-year battle. The doctors were sure that all the tumor tissue was dead. And now… now we are headed in for a 72-hour, chemo drip. That protocol only happens in emergency situations. Yes, over Easter weekend we did get a bad report but the decline happening this fast.. How??? Why???
I put my car in reverse, backed out of the parking spot, and headed towards the hospital. I remember asking God for wisdom and to help me keep Corey calm. I was in too much of a daze to cry. I was trying to keep Corey calm who was very upset and not himself. A gazillion questions ran through my head.
The only thing I knew to do was call the pastor, who had walked part of this journey with us a few weeks prior when the diagnosis came that remission was no longer our status. The only words I remember him saying were “Follow peace, Tanja. Where there is peace, there is Jesus.” Little did I know that our lives and the peace and calm in the middle of the imminent storm would depend on those very words.
This month marks 9 years since Corey passed away. He was loved and admired. He was the big brother and the best buddy everyone wanted. This goes not without evidence. Over 900 people were present at his funeral that was held in the form of a movie premier. “Best of Corey Flynn’s Films” just as he would have wanted it. That day the life he lived was celebrated and the legacy he left evident.
When I read the bible it is clear that God puts a lot of emphasis on the key that is timing, the right timing. Over the past 9 years I didn’t have peace to write about this story that impacted many lives and shaped us into who we are today, until this year. 2018 holds something special. I am not sure what that is yet besides peace and an open door to share God’s grace in this entire journey. I do pray and believe that as I share my heart and the lessons I have learned, someone out there going through a similar storm will be touched and encouraged to keep going and never lose hope. .I want to tell you that you are not alone. God’s grace is sufficient for you and your loved one. He is right there beside you. He loves you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Trust him, lean into him, and most of all, follow peace and hang on tight.
(to be continued…)