Saturday, July 17, 2010


Shock rocked the Valley as news of Georgie McCanna's sudden death spread literally like wildfire. Phone and various local news chains lit up, as did text messages, the disturbing information branching out to people exponentially.

I still don't have all the facts, just that she was at the pool on Monday morning, July 12, when she suffered a massive heart attack, which killed her almost instantly. No rescue attempt made any difference; she didn't even have time to say one last thing. She was gone, just like that.

I think about her at least 20 times a day. I have so many questions, so many things I would've liked to have told her. She was one of those people who really listened when you spoke. She made you glad you ran into her and grateful that she was there. She was just one of those rare people who are really easy to love.

Georgie was only barely 50. She had no previous indications of a heart problem and in fact, exercised vigorously and faithfully. She was one of the creators of the exercise group at the middle school, and I often saw her strapping on her sneakers after school was over, ready to climb stairs and walk the halls with friends and co-workers.

I keep thinking of how one day her husband was probably thinking of where they might go to enjoy some of this summer break, and the next day, he's picking out his wife's casket. It's insane. I cannot wrap my little mind around it. It's just not the way it's supposed to be. It's just all too unreal.

Her service was as lovely and as loving as one could be. It was at the Catholic church, and I'd never been there before. We got there pretty early because we knew there'd be standing room only by start time. I picked one of the back pews, but Kev suggested the opposite side, and it wasn't until afterward that he told me it was because we would've been sitting right in front of the casket, something he deems just a little uncomfortable.

Two of her closest friends stood up together to read tributes and to tell a little about her. After that, her husband and youngest son got up to tell us their own. Michael graduated with my Brett, and he has a great sense of humor. He made everyone laugh with his recounting of how Georgie kept guessing "Sheep herder!" in one round of Pictionary, no matter how he tried to get her to shorten it. "It's shepherd, Mom! Shepherd!" From then on, any time you didn't know what the answer was, you'd just say, "Sheep herder!" Craig assured everyone that he loved his life with Georgie, and that while his world has come to a complete stop right now, he would go on again without her. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, and people cried freely and without embarrassment. This was a soul whose spirit was so sweet and thoroughly kind that it would be a shame to her memory to withhold honor that she would have so freely expressed.

Death is our own personal, final enemy. But for those of us who are in Christ, even Death has been ultimately silenced and rendered impotent. It is the gateway to real Life where it will not at all exist except perhaps as some distant reminder of having been vanquished by the One Who gave everything, so that we might inherit His All and live forever inside Love, Joy, and Peace.

So, Georgie, I will miss you. Everyone who ever knew you will miss you. The world is a less joyful place without you in it, and I'm praying for the people who loved you and whose hearts are in pieces. I know you are knowing Joy now, so enjoy that Life...

We said our goodbyes to you today. You would've hated being the center of attention, but your friends and family did a fabulous job of holding it together well enough to give honor to your life and acknowledge before the world how much they love and miss you.

Little Janie was beautiful. Craig was strong. Michael was hilarious. You would've loved that.

No one can believe it. It's all ridiculously horrible. How can a light so blazingly bright be gone now?! How does the earth keep turning, mail get delivered, the sun keep shining? How do the people who love you find a new normal without you when you were their North Star?

You were a huge part of why JMS is such a great place to work. The fingerprints of your heart work were everywhere. You made me laugh. You made me feel safe. And welcome. And cared about. There was nothing you weren’t there to help me with. You made me brave when I had to face the lunch lady about the food I'd used by mistake. You never made me feel dumb when time and again I'd forget to unlock the girls' locker room. Your smile and encouraging words were always exactly what I needed to go on and do the next thing right.

Your smile lit up a room. Your humility and strength were quiet, but so very sure. You were a driving force behind so many others' accomplishments, but no one outside might ever realize that. You were certainly the wind beneath so very many wings. So many beautiful facets to miss about you...

There's a hole the size of a galaxy here now. While we treasure knowing that we'll see you again someday, it's all the days in between now and then that will make the rest of this life here seem terribly long. But Brenda was right--the greater tragedy would've been to have never known you. You are a princess, as beautiful inside as out, with a kindness, integrity, and humility that endeared you to anyone who spent any time with you at all.

I thank the Lord for your life. I know He'll hold you close and treasure you in this last Dance. See you soon… XO

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Six-Month Cough

It's taken more than a week for my voice to get back to near normal. The evening headaches and retching have been hard to get a handle on, and I can't tell where my activity limit is, so I'm still trying to feel that one out. I wake with three specific symptoms, live out the day doing whatever, and feel around rather blindly around evening time looking for hand holds. Going to bed at 9:00 seems to be a good idea so far.

A nurse friend asks occasionally, "So how's your lung cancer?" She always wants me to get this cough checked into because the rate of lung cancer cases is spiking. I always know though, that it's not lung cancer. It's just something that sticks around a long time, but eventually always goes away. Like a bad meal.

Gotta say though, Texas was totally worth it.