Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympic Dreams

Some of you will remember the post below that I wrote three years ago when we lost my sister-in-law to cancer. I am sharing it again now while watching the olympic figure skaters on TV. You see, Cathy won a gold medal skating in the Special Olympics. You can surely imagine how excited she was! In honor of Cathy's memory and her gold medal, my husband--who hates the cold more than anyone I know--has decided to take a Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics Indiana. I thought I would share the link to his fundraising page here in case some of you would like to help contribute. I promise to videotape his plunge and share it here for my your amusement. It will no doubt be worth every penny. 

February 9, 1969 – February 16, 2011

It would be easy to be angry. To dwell on the unfairness of it all. To morn the loss of a life so young. But Cathy never took the easy route. Instead she worked harder than anyone I know. Her forty-two years on this planet were not easy. When you are handicapped nothing ever is. She never complained. Well, almost never. If you knew Cathy you knew she wasn’t a pushover either.

She was, however, the first person in line to tell someone they did a good job. If I were scrapbooking or sewing or cooking she always told me that I was doing a good job and she was proud of me. After the kids cleaned their rooms or finished another chore she would inspect their work and tell them they did a good job. When her brother finished a project around the house, there she was, telling him how he did. Doing a good job was important to her. So much so that if she thought you didn’t do a good job, she’d tell you to do it again.

Cathy put all her energy into doing a good job at everything she tried. And tried she did. I never heard her say she couldn’t do something. She would only ask how to do something and boom the next thing you know she was going at it. There was no stopping her. Her entire life she studied to be able to read better. She set goals for herself and achieved them. One of her more recent accomplishments was to live independently for the first time in her life. She was doing a good job of it.

Cathy was always looking after everyone else. For twelve years she helped raise her niece and nephew, she also volunteered at the private school they attended. I can only imagine how many times she told all the children and teachers they were doing a good job. 

She was the most helpful person I’d ever met. If you mentioned you needed anything at all Cathy would be up and out the door to fetch whatever it was so fast it would make your head spin. If you left her unsupervised anywhere near the kitchen, even only for a minute, she would have the dishes done before you knew what she was doing. Then she would ask you if she did a good job. If only she knew how good of a job she did. You see, she was fabulous at teaching others. Not in front of a classroom, but by example. Cathy always showed you what was really important in life. To never give up. To do a good job. To help others. To live, love and laugh like you’ve never been hurt.

It would be easy to be angry, but instead I am inspired. If she can get up and out of bed every day while battling cancer to walk to school in the snow at 42 years old to try to read better… well, I can only be inspired.

Cathy has earned her wings and ascended into heaven. There is no doubt in my mind she was hand picked to be someone’s guardian angel. There is no IQ test to qualify to become an angel, one must only be pure of heart. That she was and, of course, we all know she’ll do a good job.


Lynda said...

What a beautiful post of someone who obviously loved very deeply! Please ask your husband to be careful with the polar plunge. It can be a detrimental shock to a person's system. Does he need to check with a doctor first before doing this? I admire him for wanting to but don't want it to negatively affect his health. (And I am not a pessimist or worry-wart - - just aware of facts.)

Meggie said...

What a lovely post and tribute to your sister-in-law's memory. Looking forward to the polar plunge post !!

linda eller said...

She was most definitely an example to others and much loved. Whew, that plunge makes me cold just to think about it. Have a nice Thursday.

Abby said...

This so touched my heart. What a lovely tribute and what a lovely legacy. Thank you for sharing her story - she continues to be an inspiration!