In the Aftermath

During this time, as the Florida Panhandle is trying to recover and heal from Hurricane Micheal, I am reminded of this beautiful warrior and inspired by her steadfast faith. The storms of our lives take many forms. The scars come. But one thing I’ve learned from witnessing Emma Rose, is that our scars do not define us. What we say and do. How we live. How much we love are so much more important and defining.

We’ve been through a life altering event and are living in the very difficult aftermath of its lingering presence. With faith, steadfast love and compassion for each other, and the willingness and determination to endure, like Emma, we will rise from the ashes, stronger, braver, and with more gratitude than we could ever imagine. This is our home, and like soldiers who’ve faced countless battles and hardships together, we are forever linked by this experience. We are forever changed. Humbled and grateful, with God’s Grace, we’ll face tomorrow together.

In 2016, at the age of 17, she was diagnosed with stage four cancer. On the day of her diagnosis, after months and months of testing and surgeries, she finally had the answer. She was quiet for but a moment. Then, lifting her eyes, she simply said, “I’m ready. Let’s do this.” From that moment, she surrendered herself, her journey, it’s outcome, and faced each day with the heart of a lion and the fire of a thousand suns. She endured months and months of treatment, illness, surgeries, and hospitalizations. Her entire junior year of high school was spent at Shands in Gainesville. Her guitar her constant companion, her art her constant source of comfort. She shared that. Over and over again with others facing the same fight she was. She smiled through her pain. Her faith endured. Almost three years later, she is cancer free and lives her life on her own terms and with a joy that is contagious and enduring. She will always bear the scars of her fight. But she will never let them define her. She is my hero. She is my daughter. 💜

Don’t mistake her quiet soul for weakness.
For she is more than bone and sinew.
She was forged in fire.
Facing flames you can never know
the transforming of unless
you have faced the inferno.
Unless your skin has felt
the sting of their touch.
The searing pain of their embrace.
Scarred and altered, she emerged.
Born of courage.
Majestic in her rising.
She is far from weak.
She is the strongest warrior I know.

© 2019 Jennifer N. Fenwick
An Extraordinary State of Being