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Saying Goodbye to P

I met P as we sat together watching our children in swim team practice three years ago. We had a lot in common. We both had daughters almost the same age. Her oldest was a year younger than L and her youngest and A-girl were the same age. She had taught swimming lessons for the Y and so had I. Our lives seemed similar in a number of ways. We planned the swim team banquet together that year and I admired her strength and her dedication to her family, friends and community.

Then the unthinkable happened in the fall of 2011. P was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She defied the odds in a way that only she could do. She was given a maximum of 6 months and she lived over 14 months. Surrounded by the love of her immediate and extended family, she fought. Her mobility and sight were affected and she was unable to attend the things that she did before and had to rely on family members to cheer her girls on in their various activities. And they did. At least one member of the girls' family (and usually more) were there to cheer them on at swim meets.

This past Wednesday, P could fight no longer and passes away at the age of 43 surrounded in love.

P's family is absolutely amazing. I cannot imagine the heartache and the grief that they have been through in the past year and a bit but their strength is simply amazing. Swimming was a big part of P's life. She was captain of the high school swim team, she taught lessons and I know the girls took to the water even more in the past year to find a connection with her and to build their natural talent in the water. Both girls have excelled but particularly the older daughter K. She was on the high school team with L and did remarkably well lettering as a seventh grader! Yesterday was our team's sectional swim meet to determine who would go on to State and the absolute strength of this family was demonstrated yet again. There was no doubt in there minds that the girls would be swimming in that meet because it is what their mother would have wanted so they made it happen. Yesterday was also the visitation for P from 2-5pm. This is a huge meet and everyone knew it would not be finished by 2:00 despite it starting at 9:00. In true family fashion, P's family had set up shifts so that Grandpa brought the girls for warm ups, Dad came to watch from 9-11, Grandma and a cousin from 11-2 and an aunt from 2-3:30 when they finished up the meet and went to the visitation. The girls swam remarkably well considering all they were dealing with and they both have advanced to State competition in two weeks. It was a piece of "normal" for them when everything is else is anything but normal.

Today our family will stand alongside several hundred others to honor P and to celebrate her life. She has touched so many people with her love, joy and grace and her girls pour forth that love, joy and grace as well. L is very close friends with K and A-girl with M and because our swim team is small, we all become a close community so all my children had no questions about where they were going to be today. Me, I would prefer to shelter them but that is not realistic and they know the power of love and support and what to be that community for their friends. January 28 of the year I was in 7th grade my mother died (K is in 7th grade and her mom died January 30) and I know how very important that support is and how lost you can be without it and am so proud of my children for wanting to be there alongside their friends in this time of uncertainty.

P you are such an incredible inspiration to me. Your strength, faithfulness and courage is amazing and your love and dedication to family is incredible. You have touched so many people and a piece of you will ive on in each of us forever. Rest in peace P. You are free.

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Strict Standards: Non-static method serendipity_plugin_api::hook_event() should not be called statically in /homepages/31/d88100638/htdocs/serendipity91/serendipity/include/functions_smarty.inc.php on line 92

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