There is Always Hope
A daughter and Ball State University athlete shares about how she found hope during and after her mom’s cancer journey.
I stood on the ledge as I watched the red paper lantern float away into the night sky. In that moment I was flooded with emotion. All the memories, grief, and realization of my life came over me. I cried for a while.
It was an evening in September of 2018, and I had gathered several of my closest friends in my favorite spot on the Ball State University campus—the outdoor amphitheater—to remember the first anniversary of my mom’s passing.
At Ball State University, I competed on the track and field team and was fortunate to have a lot of success. But the joy was often mixed with sorrow during that time.
Taking the time to reflect that evening helped me remember how amazing my mom was—she was the most selfless, funny, stubborn, gracious, loud, and Christ-fearing woman I have ever known.
Her name was Hope and my heart misses her so much.
Here is her story.
She began not feeling very well in May of 2016. At the time, I was just about to graduate from high school. Things progressively got worse, so my dad took my mom to the doctor and she was diagnosed with anal cancer.
Never would I have imagined my mom having cancer! Luckily, the cancer was Stage 1. She would just have to go in for chemo and radiation, and hopefully it would go away and she would be okay.
But as time went on, my mom’s body began not responding well to the chemo and radiation. They did surgery, and for a time she was cancer-free. But then the cancer came back, not just once but twice…The second time being the most aggressive.
Through these setbacks, I tried my best to try and not lose faith, but it felt like God was really testing my family and me. I tried to balance my life at Ball State University meanwhile trying to being there for my mom.
Her cancer sadly grew stronger, while my mom grew weaker. Eventually she was hospitalized in the summer of 2017.
Then we lost her that September.
So many losses
I NEVER thought that I would be here this early in my life without my mom. It hurts so bad… The little girl inside me often cries and says, “I want my mommy.” How am I supposed to go on without my mom?
There would be so many things I would say to her if I had one more chance. I wish I could hug her one more time and tell her how much I love her.
Who is going to take me wedding dress shopping? She will never get to meet my husband or my kids. Who is supposed to talk to me about girl things or rub my back when I am scared? WHY GOD? These are the questions that have often spiraled through my head.
How I found hope, strength and peace
As I look back on what I experienced, the only thing that has carried me through my mom’s journey—before and after—is my faith.
God promises to give his children hope, strength and peace. I chose to have a relationship with God starting at an early age, and my mom modeled being a Christ-follower to me.
Because of Jesus, I experience hope for the future, and even better, hope for eternal life in heaven. He gives me joy and motivation to get up every morning, even when hardships, like grief, hit me pretty hard.
There were days when I was so frustrated with my mom, God, cancer, and just life in general. What helped keep me grounded was the fact that no matter what was going to happen, God was in control. He ultimately has a plan for me and my family.
That plan always includes experiencing a powerful sense of hope, like the Bible mentions in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Hope and grieving together
I learned that hope doesn’t mean I have to have it together all the time. Having hope means being joyful, but also gives me space to grieve. I can grieve with hope because I grieve with Jesus.
He wants me to fall into his arms and overflow me with his peace and not my own. God’s peace is a peace that surpasses understanding.
My mom reflected this so well. Even when she knew she was going to die, she never gave up hope, because she knew our family would be together again one day.
Cancer sucks. It really does, but the hope the God promises is so worth it.
It has now been nearly three years since my mom passed, but my hope rings truer than ever.
I miss my mom every day, but it brings me such joy knowing where she is. She is cancer free and walking hand and hand with Jesus in heaven. I know I’ll see her again.
Facing more uncertainty
Life is uncertain, especially with all that is happening in the world right now. Because of the coronavirus, my track season was cancelled at Ball State University during the spring of my senior year so I did not get to finish competing like I wanted to.
Graduating from college and stepping into a new stage of life, I have still had to rely on the hope in the Lord that he will take care of me.
I have been given this story of my mom’s battle to share with others as they walk through trials themselves, to show through my life that no matter what the circumstance, there is always hope.
Why there is always hope
A few months into my mom’s journey, I started a blog with that exact title: There is Always Hope. I called it that because my mom’s name was Hope, but also reminds me of my hope in God—that there is always hope for the future.
I know that one day when I go shopping for a wedding dress, I will still miss my mom. But I can trust that God will care for me and provide me joy and hope even alongside the sadness.
Even though my mom passed away from cancer, there will always be Hope in my heart, with God and with my mom.
If you would like to discover spiritual hope like Megan has, check out this article.
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