Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Courage and an Unexpected Gift

I wanted to give my friend and her family some down time to privately process before I put this out on the blog....

During the past two months my good friend "Big" Sara's mother has been battling cancer. Her brief fight ended last Monday, Feb. 20. I've known Sara for 10 years, and at least half of that time we've spent under the same roof - sorority house, college apartment and most fun our post-college apartment. She's why Neil and I met and she's a dear friend. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.
Neil and I are beyond humbled that her family is asking those to honor her mom through a donation to the UT Mitochondrial Center of Excellence in Houston. (see her blog post below). I of course just broke down crying after we hung up the phone (multiple times last week). There are no words for this gift.

I still remember the wedding shower she hosted in her beautiful home for us and the place mats she and Sara gave us as a gift. I often think when I'm attempting to set the table that Carolyn was one classy lady who always knew how to set a nice table. I can only hope to do those place mats justice. (Thank goodness they are machine washable) :-)

She and her husband came over for a visit last Friday after the funeral. I am glad we were able to visit, cry, hug and laugh. As Neil and I reflected on the day we both felt like we were happy to have been there for them, but that it was unexpectedly extraordinarily difficult. The choices that Sara and her family made were the right choices, choices that I pray Neil and I don't ever have to make - as unlikely as that would be. I can only hope to be as courageous as their family. 

Call your mom and tell her you love her, read your kid that extra book and leave a nice note for someone you love. As the old Garth Brooks said (you know the country singer, not the weird new age guy going by Chris Gaines) "if tomorrow never comes..."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:02 PM, CST
written by Sara Schoenfield Murphy
At Peace
We said goodbye to mom yesterday afternoon. She passed away about 2pm with all of us around her. After a very difficult morning with doctors and family and making some tough choices - impossible choices - mom's health issues quickly progressed and multiplied that morning and indicated this was not any quality of life to hold on to, by anyone's standards, let alone mom's - she had some high standards :) It was a very, very hard day through which we cried, laughed, and battled with emotions. While we are all at peace knowing she went without any pain and we were in the room with her, we are all up and down (as expected) as far as finding peace for ourselves moving forward, but we are moving forward together with you all.

We are so thankful and appreciative of the support from everyone. It's truly a blessing and a testament to how awesome mom was. The outpour has been great - moreso than we could have imagined.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that anyone willing donate blood in mom's name to the M.D. Anderson Blood Bank. If you prefer a monetary donation we ask that you give to an organization that supports a family friend's 2-year old son who was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Mom was touched by their story and very sympathetic to the situation and would love to have known she was helping them in this way (more info at bottom of post on how to donate).

We have lots of food here (much appreciated, thank you all!), so please do not feel you need to bring any over. I laughed and thought "In leiu of food, please bring alcohol." Haha, kidding of course because you know we have plenty of that! We just don't want the food to go to waste. It's hard to say 'please don't be generous' - apologies if this isn't the proper way to handle this?

A thousand thanks to you all for your thoughts, prayers, supportive words, and gestures. Our apologies if we have not responded or been in touch as much as we would like. Your love and support is strongly felt.

For donations:
Make checks out to The Memorial Hermann Foundation (memo line: UT Mito Center - Carolyn Schoenfield)
and mail to:
The UT Mitochondrial Center of Excellence
6431 Fannin St. MSB 3.151
Houston, Tx 77030

More info:
In the past year, a family friend's 2 year old son (Will Martin, son to Lori and Neil) was diagnosed with this fatal disease (Leigh's Disease). Similar to cancer, mitochondrial disorders are hard to diagnose and occur just as frequently. The UT Mitochondrial Center of Excellence conducts research to help local children receive better care and more opportunities to find a treatment and cure.

For further information on making donations, people can call the clinic at 713-500-7164 and press option 1 to speak with Melissa Knight.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. Two months. That is so sudden. I can't imagine. It must be totally awful and surreal for them right now. Sara is a lovely person. I know her from brief encounters at the school. So talented and also a great personality. My heart breaks for all who knew Carolyn. What a wonderful gift to assist UMDF in her name! Flowers seem wasteful IMO anyhow. I love this sentiment. So touching and a little bit of brightness and solidarity during a tough time. I also love the "in lieu of food bring alcohol." Glad to see the family is holding on to some humor. Another way to honor and celebrate her life. Holding all of you in my heart and sending wishes for peace. Medical decisions are never easy, and it sounds like they all kept the best motivation in mind and she went in peace.