Posted by TerryS (126.96.36.199) on December 18, 2000 at 15:12:30:
If You Only Knew
I have to admit, I didn't know Donna very well.
I wish I had known her better.
What I did know about her was that she belonged
to the same church my family attends. She worked at
the school that her young daughters attended. And she
was one of the bravest, most courageous people I have
ever had the privilege of coming in contact with.
Let me tell you why.
Donna used the same family daycare home that I
did -- that was my first contact with her. We never
got beyond exchanging pleasantries as we passed each
other on the way to dropping off or picking up kids.
She was my age and just as busy as I was. We both had
husbands and children and jobs outside the home and a
schedule probably as hectic (if not more so) than any
More than a year ago, the news came that Donna
was facing a battle with cancer.
In the months that followed, our church family
received regular updates from Donna (when she was able
to attend church) or her family about her and her
health. Sometimes things looked good, other times the
news wasn't as bright. But the one person that always
remained bright through it all was Donna. There
weren't many besides her family who saw her in her
darker, more painful times, I'm sure, but when she
attended church, she always looked happy and healthy,
although I'm sure she wasn't always feeling well.
Once, during a time when I was dealing with a
painful back problem, Donna went out of her way to
talk to me after church and ask me how I was doing.
As I explained my pain, she nodded sympathetically and
said, "I know. I get that kind of pain, too. But I
think it's my tumor pressing against my spine." And
she said it as if she were giving me a cookie recipe.
I was amazed and awed by her candor about her disease
and her acceptance of it.
When Donna first announced several months ago
that her cancer had returned, she said something that
will echo in my mind for the rest of my life: "I have
It was in that moment that I realized that Donna
had something I wanted -- an unwavering, unshakable
faith and positive outlook in what the future held for
her. It's something that everybody wishes for, but
which very few of us have the strength and confidence
to achieve in our lifetimes.
I had wanted to do a feature story on Donna for
our local paper. I thought that her amazing attitude
in facing her illness would make a wonderful article.
But when I asked her about it, she said, "Oh, I don't
know. I'm really not very good at talking about
myself. Besides, I'm terminal. Who would be
interested in that?"
Donna, if you only knew!
If you only knew how many people would be
interested in your strength, your courage, your faith.
If you only knew how many people, even those who
didn't know you well, have been touched and inspired
by you. If only you knew how many people would've
bought your attitude if you'd found a way to capture
it and put it in a bottle.
Donna passed away on May 28, 1999 at 5:45am. She
was 36 years old. Her husband and two young daughters
Everywhere you look, there are heroes. Sports
heroes. Movie star heroes. Political heroes.
They slam dunk, act, govern, and fight their way
to the top -- not always with the best of intentions.
They're a dime a dozen.
What we need are more of the kind of heroes that
are a bit rarer to find. Those people who provide us
with a pattern for living, who inspire and motivate
and encourage us simply by the way they live their
What we need are more "life" heroes like Donna
By Michelle Pearson
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