Never have I ever met someone as positive, joyful and beautiful as my best friend of 20 years. Marianne. She has been the biggest, best, and most consistent part of my life and I thank her every day for that.
September 19, 2012, her father, Dutchie, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Every day was a challenge. Every day was an emotional roller coaster. Every day was a test of faith. But they saw every day as a blessing.
Marianne's mother, although tiny in stature, was a tank! She was the rock. She held it together and provided comfort and hope to all of her children, her husband, and the rest of the family. Although terrified, she sat by her husband's side. No time for tears. No time for pity. Too busy fighting and praying. Marianne always said, "I never understand how mama is always so strong. How can she be so calm and positive through this whole thing. I haven't gone a day without crying my eyes out." Marianne has no idea that she is more like her mom than she'll ever know.
Just over a week ago, things took a turn for the worst. Marianne started to see the effect it was having on her mother. She realized that it wasn't just her father that was sick. It was her mother's husband, her mother's best friend. I asked her how she was holding up, and what she said next inspired my decision to gift her a Giving Key. She said, "I know it's going to be hard... But I have got to be strong for Mama." A day later, I gave her a "strength" key.
I will say that "strength" runs in the family. Dutchie passed on Monday, September 9, 2013... But not without putting up a helluva fight. He fought until he knew his family was taken care of, until he knew his family was at peace, and until he knew his family was all together.
Monday I received this text from a very calm, very content, very strong Marianne: "He has passed. It was perfect. It was quiet and peaceful, and we were all here."
I think God gives us the strength we need, when we need it. Or he at least shows us how to find the strength that's always been inside of us.
Tell your family and friends you love them everyday. Never know how many more of those days we have.
I love and miss you Dutchie. And don't worry, I'll look after your baby girl. Enjoy your glass of wine with the big man upstairs!