Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A sister remembered

When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.

So live.

Fight like hell, and when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let someone else fight for you.

– ESPN’s Stuart Scott

Any time I see this quote, I can’t help but think of my dear friend and sister-in-pink, Kris Stefanac. It was two years ago today she earned her angel wings and to this day, to say she lost her battle has never sat well with me. Kris was not a loser, she was anything but. She fought her battle with grace and beauty every step of the way and when God decided her time on Earth was done, she won… because of her faith, she is now in heaven with her loved ones and is waiting for those of us who believe to join her.

In life, she was my inspiration and in death, she still continues to inspire me. In life, she was a teacher (thanks to her, I can defend myself the BJJ way), a friend, a sister-in-pink and in Christ, a role model, and through her own battle, she taught me that despite whatever negatives life throws your way, look at the positives and be happy for them, thank God for them, and live your life to the fullest. I’ll never forget the conversation we had when she came to visit me after my surgery. She knew God put cancer in her life for a reason and allowed our paths to cross because He knew I would need her and that one day, He will use me and what I went through to help someone else. I'm sure there were times she was bitter about her situation but wow, what a thing to say. It's just a testimony of the kind of person Kris was and how she was able to find something good in a not-so-good situation and the kind of person I strive to be because of her.

In death, she has continued to be an inspiration. It was in her honor and memory that I ran my first 5K in June 2014 and it's because of that race, I found a love for running. And now, whether it be a race or a casual run around the neighborhood, there's not a moment that goes by that I don't think about her, miss her, and thank God He brought her into my life. Part of her is with me always and I am a better person for knowing her.

Happy Angel Anniversary, my dear friend and sister, Kris. I love you and miss you and look forward to the day I will see your beautiful face once again. PS. Give Papa D and my brother a hug for me.