Friday, March 1, 2013

My dear cousin

*Disclaimer, I took these pictures off of her FB page, and my email. I think most of these pictures are the work of the wonderful Claudine Cable.*

I started this yesterday, but had a hard time finishing it. . .I am sitting here as tears trickle down my face. This isn’t the first time I have cried today, or this week, really there have been many tears shed for the last several weeks.  Almost 6 weeks ago I got a late night phone call from my parents. You know, the “oh no what happened” late night phone calls. My dad tearfully explained that my cousin, Cherie, whom had been battling cancer for four years, was told by the medical professionals that there was nothing else they could do for her. She asked if she had a year left, they told her no. She asked if she had months left, they told her no. She asked if she had weeks left, and they told her if she was lucky.
Here she is, this past summer, with her youngest daughter.

For those 6 weeks my family and I have been sick. There was no way I was going to expose her to any germs that might take any days away from the time she had left with her family. So I cried as I sent an email, not knowing what to say. I wonder if she ever got it.
Right in front, life of the party!!

Finally we are getting over all of our illnesses so yesterday I ventured to my grandma’s and visited with my grandma and aunt.  My aunt told me that Cherie was sleeping most of the day. She didn’t think it would be much longer. She did mention that the younger you are, the longer you tend to hold on.
As I was getting ready for the day today I thought about that. I wondered if you hold on when you are young because you are scared, because you have a life left unfinished. I can imagine a young child being okay with a new adventure more than a mid-life adult. I cried again as I wondered who would be waiting there for her. I knew my grandpa would, and I am sure that her grandparents on the other side would welcome her back as well.

Cherie and my amazing aunt (her mom) both breast cancer warriors. I have another aunt and cousin whom have been inspirations as they battled as well.

Cherie died this afternoon. I sat and reflected on the memories that I have of my amazing, wonderful and loving cousin. Cherie is the one that always came up to me at family gatherings and made sure that I felt welcome. My cousins all grew up around each other, my family lived out of state. I loved it when I moved to Utah and got to know my Utah cousins better. Yet sometimes I felt left out. Sometimes I didn’t feel like I fit in. Cherie always came up and talked to me. She and I related on so many levels. She was older, wiser, more beautiful, and just had a lot to share with me.

I love this picture! She is talking with her niece. Always interested in everyone's life, and always ready to hand out great advice.

One of my most precious memories of Cherie was when my grandpa was near the end of his life. He was at a care facility and I found myself there as much as possible. There were a lot of others that came often also, but I almost always found Cherie there. I loved visiting with her. There was one particular moment near the very end when my grandma was lovingly caring for my grandfather. She whispered, in that quiet sacred moment. "Look at that. They have taken care of each other for most of their lives." The room became a very sacred space. Heaven was close
I am sure that Cherie’s room was quiet the same way near the end of her life. I feel sorry for myself that I couldn’t be a part of it. I know that whenever I think of her, for the rest of my life, I will offer a little prayer of gratitude up to heaven—grateful that I got to know her, and be mentored by her. I was mentored in the art of motherhood. She is an amazing mother. I know she will continue to be an amazing mother on the other side. Her children might not see her, but I know they will be influenced by her. She offered so many tips on parenting. I’m sure it was natural to her, and she didn’t know that I felt like I was being taught by the master.
Cherie mentored me in the art of being a wife. Cherie and I both married in our later 20’s and married men that had some similar attributes. The way she spoke about her husband was always uplifting and encouraging. She taught me so much about how to be a good wife. I will always be thankful for her advice to never talk bad about your husband to your friends and family. You might get over what you were feeling at that time, but people will always remember what you had said about your spouse.

I LOVE this picture. I love that you can almost hear her infectious laugh. But most of all, that you can see her husband looking at her in adoration! 
I love her so much! I know my grandpa was waiting for her, ready to put her to work. And if all dogs go to heaven, I know her little dog Copper was too!!
I know some say she lost her battle with cancer, I say she just got it right before a lot of us do. She got to graduate from this life a little earlier than some. From what I know of this amazing woman, she passed with flying colors!


  1. Oh Tiffany, this breaks me heart. This time is so hard and will be for quite some time. I am so sorry. Prayers, my friend, for you and your loved ones.

  2. Beautifully said, she will be greatly missed.

  3. Tiffany, I am so sorry for you, but rejoice in your loving testimony of her life. What a wonderful person she is. As I read your blog I thought, "She is just like Tiffany!" What a blessing. I love you bunches!!! Mom Campbell

  4. Thank you for honoring the life of my sister and for posting it on FB so I could read it. Beautifully expressed. Love you.

  5. Thanks Tiffany. Such a nice tribute!


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