Tea cups and the truth about losing a friend to an illness

When I think about tea cups I think about three things: tea parties as a little girl, our wedding favours and my dear sweet friend, Lisa. But mostly I just think of Lisa. The clicking of China cups can do that to a girl who clings to a memory of when her friend was alive and fighting for her life; a memory of visiting her at the hospital with a tea cup in hand so that she wouldn’t have to have her afternoon tea in the plastic blue hospital cups. 
The story of Lisa is not a complicated one, but it’s a story that has been sitting so heavy on my heart lately, the ones where my fingers don’t type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. Lisa was a simple girl with a New Zealand accent and a mighty big heart for her daughter; Sydney. Now that I’m a mother, I can completely grasp the fullness of love for your child the way Lisa loved and longed for as many days with her baby girl as she could fight for.
Lisa and I met at work where we were part of a sales team that sold furniture. We talked over fabric swatches and furniture layouts. One day, in the small break room she gave her life to love and serve Jesus. Things changed around the office that day, for the better and for the heartbreaking. 
I remember the day Lisa called her husband worried about test results and the day she called into work in a big mess of tears is etched in my mind to this day. She had cancer and it was bad. A rare cervical cancer called Glassy Cell Carcinoma. And like every cancer battle her’s had her ups and downs, her full share of radiation and we even raised enough money for her to complete a clinical trial. But those details don’t matter, not really, but rather the days after she gave her heart to the Lord are what mattered most to her. 
We had invited Lisa to our church connect group in the midst of her cancer battle where she shared her heart with us; and how beautiful it was. She let us look into her hard days, but said that she couldn’t imagine doing it without God. What she loved most about her walk with God, was that she gave her heart and layed down her life to God just months before finding out she had cancer. It meant something to her that she had made that choice because she wanted to and not because she was sick. That night we rallied over Lisa and prayed hard for healing. 
The months to follow were not too kind to Lisa, but she fought and she fought hard. I’ve never known someone so persistent to keep going. With each passing day her faith grew and got stronger. Her body frail and losing muscle, but her soul and spirit alive and well in Christ. I would say she had an overflowing amount of joy, peace and grace and her heart was filled with kindness to everyone she met. Nurses complimented Lisa for how well she carried herself. There was something different about her- she had found completeness in her saviour. She played “It is well” in palliative care and a single tear fell down her face as she sang along. She spent her final days at home with her husband and her baby girl “syd syd”. 
That night, I ran through my in laws’ door and collapsed into my mother in law’s arms. She also had a friend pass from cancer and she understood the defeat and the sorrow I was wrestling with. How can it be? She didn’t get healed. No more extra time. Her saviour welcomed her home. 
Now having some time to reflect, God showed me the ways she received healing. No not physical healing like we all wanted, but she gained eternal freedom. Her heart was healed from past hurt and un forgiveness, friendships were mended and her marriage was strengthened and redeemed. Her life was beautiful. She was beautiful. 
If she were here today, I think she would tell you that God was her saving grace through every trial and hardship. That she wouldn’t have traded her relationship with God for anything. She left a legacy for her daughter, her family and for me. 
So just like my momma (in love) when she thinks of her sweet friend Papi who passed away a few years ago, she thinks of sunflowers, I think of pretty tea cups whenever I think of Lisa. It used to hurt too much to think of her and what she left behind, but now when I think of her I rejoice for I know everything she has been given. 

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