There are some who traverse through life tucking away their trials, hiding them from the light for fear the broken world will crush them even more.
There are some who refuse to welcome fear as a companion, who share their stories, fighting through the risk, vulnerability, and uncertainty. These storytellers bring light, comfort, and inspiration to those of us quietly shouting, “Me too!”
If you ask her if she thinks she is brave, she will probably answer, "No." However, I attest that Cat Poland is one of these brave storytellers.
I am grateful to welcome Cat Poland here today for Wednesday’s Woman. You can find her rich stories from fertile ground at Mom on the Range, like her on Facebook, and, of course, follow her on Twitter.
A Proverbs 31 Kind of Friend
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29
“How are you doing?,” she asked when we first locked eyes in the hospital room. Such a simple question. Four words. But most people really don’t care what you have to say. If you say anything beyond, “fine,” they get squeamish. But not Amy. She is always thoughtful, always genuinely concerned. And despite her positive qualities, she’s the last person I wanted to see in the hospital.
You see, it was her, not me, lying in the bed. She was immediately concerned about me, the visitor. “I was worried seeing me like this would bring back memories of your own loss.” I was floored. Here she was, hours after delivering her stillborn baby at 16 weeks, worried about my emotions. But that’s just how she is. Completely selfless. I immediately began to cry, but not because my old emotions of a pregnancy loss were refreshed. I wept tears for her. Her lost baby. Her husband. Her son, the same age as my oldest daughter. She’d been through so much. This was just so undeserved. And yet, she held her head up. Sad, but not disheartened.
And to be honest, I’m not sure I could compose myself nearly as well as she does given all the trials she’s been through. Losing a baby is hard enough, but combine that with a child born with ocular albinism, a condition that requires years of treatment, therapies, and adapted needs to cope with, and it’s too much. Only, that’s not all. Before she even had children, before she laid down her own needs to bring life into the world, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Although she fought off this devastating disease, she is at constant risk of a relapse, and must attend yearly checkups at M.D. Anderson in Houston to ensure it’s still at bay. And what keeps it at bay? Medications, drugs that she chose to stop taking when she decided to become a mother. Having children was her dream. And happily, she now has two. Beautiful, laughing children she pours herself into. Yes, staying at home with them full time exhausts her, and money is often tight, but she clings to her dream. Clings to her children. She knows what she sacrificed to bring them into this world, and she tried not to take anything for granted.
Still, with all of these trials, she remains strong. And loving. And thoughtful. Probably the most thoughtful person I know. I’m proud to call her friend. I only hope someday I can be the friend she deserves, because I certainly don’t deserve her. She is my guiding counsel, my shoulder to cry on, my word of wisdom. She’s the one who asks, “How are you doing?,” and I can answer honestly.
Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.