My son and daughter are doing very well in school. Both are socially fitting in, adjusting to life in a very healthy way. My husband is rising up the ladder at work, providing well, and I have a great job with lots of recognition and appreciation for a job well done. Life is rocking along as we both turned the corner on thirty, and we’re about where we thought we would be at this point. It couldn’t be going much better, as we’re living the American dream. It was just another day in the life, when the phone rang, and all the blood in my head drained out, as the doctor wanted to visit with me about my annual checkup. He had never called me before, after this very routine wellness exam. He stated that he had some concerns with some lumps in my breasts, and wanted to biopsy them just to be on the safe side, and eliminate his concern.
You guessed it, a few days later I was informed I had advanced stages of breast cancer. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was barely thirty-one, and found myself in the midst of one very dark nightmare. The fear was crippling as I considered not seeing my children grow up, missing the big dates like graduation, prom, college, weddings and grandchildren. I was witnessing my life flash before my eyes, and I was horrified at what I was witnessing. Oh but wait, it gets even darker. My husband was being everything I hoped he would be, not perfect, but he was there for me as the chemotherapy began. My hair started falling out and I became so weak and frail that I couldn’t hardly get out of bed. The phone rang and I wasn’t prepared for what was coming next. My precious husband was involved in a horrific automobile accident, and they were not sure he was going to survive. Once again, I went numb all over, hardly believing what my ears were hearing. Somehow I knew, that life as I knew it would never be the same.
I was barely able to work, and it would be weeks and weeks before my husband would work again, if he even survived the accident. Income dried up, bills piled up, fear raised up and I was lost, as I didn’t know what to do or where to go for help! I was slipping away, and couldn’t find a handle to hold on to…did I mention FEAR!! Suddenly it hit me, I had a chaplain at the company I had gotten to know as he made his weekly rounds at our office. He was compassionate, a good listener and someone I could finally unload my fears, anxieties, hopes and dreams on. His strength and faith held me up when no one else could. There were some things I just didn’t feel comfortable discussing with my pastor, yet my company chaplain, whom I connected with so easily, began this long journey with me and my family.
His words of hope always seemed to be right on the mark. The resources and options he provided were perfectly timed, and exactly what my family needed. He convinced our company to establish a benevolence fund at work. The employees could contribute $5 to $10 per pay period, and the company would match or even double match what was contributed by all of the employees. Portions of this fund would then be made available to any team member in crisis! This fund bought me a wig when my hair fell out, paid our house and car payments, fed my family and above all else, gave us HOPE, that we wouldn’t be alone during this journey. Over the next few months our health slowly began to improve, until we were both back at work and life returned somewhat back to normal.
There would be new challenges down the road in my marriage and life, but I will never ever forget the season in my life, when my company cared enough to provide a benefit I had never heard of, and thought I would never use, to save our lives. It’s been almost twenty years since that challenging time of my life, and my career has taken me to other companies, but on a few occasions, when I needed someone to lean on, I called my old chaplain to help me again. He always was there for me even though my new company wasn’t one of his clients. He simply said, once you’re part of his Corporate Care family, you’re always a part of the family! I am eternally grateful for my chaplain, my friend.