I stood at her front door, knees knocking and fear swirling in my stomach.
Lord, please help me. I want to be a blessing, but I am so scared.
As the nurse opened the door to my friend’s home, I saw it.
A hospital bed in the living room.
Helen lay calm as always.
“She’s in and out,” said the nurse. “Just sit down here. I’m sure she will sense you are here.”
So, I sat. I took Helen’s hand in mine.
We never know.
Just four months earlier, Helen stood in the foyer of my home, her own knees knocking and fear swirling in her stomach.
“Janell, something isn’t right. I don’t know feel well. I’m not sure I can get home,” she said, tears welling in her big, beautiful eyes.”
Her daughter, Rose, standing by her side.
I encouraged Rose to head upstairs to the classroom where I taught her and other homeschooled students writing.
“Helen, do you want me to take you home? To the hospital? What can I do?”
“No, I think I can get home. I need to call Steve. But, can you bring Rose home?” she asked.
Weeks later, Helen was told she had four (I believe it was four) inoperable brain tumors.
A couple months, later, Helen went home to her heavenly Father.
Her dying words to me.
Helen was a beautiful woman, inside and out. A loving wife and mom. A creative soul who wrote brilliant children’s stories. A dreamer who encouraged others to dream.
As we sat and talked that spring afternoon, I asked Helen what she wanted her two daughters (and all of us, really) to remember. She allowed me to record this eternal moment. Her thoughts were very short, simple, yet profoundly significant:
- Cut other people slack.
- Eat dessert first.
- Listen to country music. The lyrics are life lessons.
Her words pierced my soul, because she had given me a great deal of slack through the years.
An astounding invitation.
When news came of Helen’s passing, my heart sank. Instead of knocking knees and swirling fears, I asked the one question I know I shouldn’t ask, “Why?” And then, I moved on, knowing that Helen wouldn’t want me to stay in that place. She would want me to move forward and live my life with even more gusto than before. Like her leading protagonist, fiery, red-headed Penelope Pepper, I had to keep going.
When the call came to speak at Helen’s funeral, I was astounded. Humbled. Scared, once again.
But in the wee hours of the morning, one word came and the message flowed. I felt God’s gentle hand guiding each word.
That one word was remarkable.
Origin of our word, remarkable:early 17th century: from French remarquable, from remarquer ‘take note of’.
In today’s vernacular, we think of remarkable as being something extraordinary, amazing, etc., when in actuality, it sincerely and simply means, “to take note of; notable; noteworthy.”
Since the day I stood in front of Helen’s family and friends, particularly her two dear daughters, I’ve been deeply challenged to live a remarkable life.
re | mark | able
A life marked with “noteable, noteworthy, take note of” character and influence.
How Do We Want to say, “I was here? I am something to take note of?”
On Tuesday, July 7th, at 1pm EST, I am honoring Helen’s memory by launching my first FREE webinar, “Be Remarkable: Three Proven Secrets for Becoming the Woman God Created You To Be.”
Please join me and a community of women committed to living remarkable lives in order to be a radiant presence in their spheres of influence.
We are going to cut each other a great deal of slack and maybe, virtually, all bring dessert to the webinar!