Honoring a Young Life Lost to Cancer

 

Kristin Michelle Brown ~ age 32, succumbed to cancer Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Cancer is such a nasty word. It’s ugly.

It’s unforgiving. It’s devastating.

In my 51 years, I’ve been grateful to never have to experience the loss of a loved one to cancer. I’ve never faced the death of a close friend, and certainly not at such a young age.

While working on this issue of the Alabama Gazette, I received “that” call … the one that says it’s over. She’s gone. While I was as prepared as possible, it didn’t stop the gut-wrenching tears that followed. I am grateful that I was alone because I needed that time to grieve without anyone telling me it would be OK. That she was in a better place. That she was no longer suffering. I know all of that. Knowing it doesn’t stop the hurt.

We had only been friends since 2014, but we certainly did a great deal of living during those few years. It was only while going through numerous digital images that the extent of our amazing friendship became so apparent.

Our friendship was unique. as she was young enough to be my daughter, but we bonded over our love of horses. And the age difference didn't stop us from sharing so many adventures ... from trail riding in three states to country concerts to road trips to rodeos to a cruise for her 30th birthday.

Then came the summer of 2020 and with it that horrible word: Cancer. While Cancer wasn’t new to Kristin, as she had already faced it and triumphed over it several times, this go-round she was given 5 years: a generous gift. It gave her time. It gave us time. Or so we thought.

When Kristin told me the Cancer was more invasive than ever before,

I couldn't find the courage to ask her prognosis. I didn't want to think the worst. Once she told me, we began to have more open and bold conversations.

Last fall, she tearfully asked, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”

I couldn't answer her, but she really didn't expect me to. She just needed me to listen. God never answered her. I still don't know why either. I don't pretend to know why bad things happen to good people. At least not like this.

We talked about her Bucket List and the adventures she wanted to have. We talked about riding together when she was better. We discussed how people told her she shouldn't or couldn't do certain things when she mentioned them.

I told her to do what she wanted and live her life! What was the worst thing that could happen ... she could die? I was glad for our candidness about one of the worst subjects you could possibly discuss under the circumstances.

Kristin was tough. She wasn't a quitter. But she never got to fulfill her Bucket List. She didn't get 5 more years. Why couldn't we have had 4 or 3 or 2?

Why weren't we given ANY of that time to make more memories?

Obviously God had other plans. It doesn't shake my faith. I am angry at God, believe me! But I reach deep within to find that faith hidden inside and remind myself that no matter how I feel or what I think, God is still in control. God is still good. I have to believe this. I can't get through this otherwise.

As I headed home that fateful afternoon, it began raining, and I thought, God cries, too. I've experienced it before in times of death. Yet I knew those tears weren't for Kristin ... they were for those of us left behind who are hurting.

Kristin had accepted Christ as her savior. I take comfort in knowing that Kristin is now walking with Jesus! She’s whole! NO MORE CANCER!

At the same time, my heart aches for Kristin's parents. She was their only child. Many of us have more than one child and still don't figure this parenting thing out. They had one shot, and NAILED IT!

I know that Kristin's parents were so proud of the woman she became! She was responsible and caring with strong work ethics. She was outspoken and brave. She was loving and compassionate. I was so blessed to be her friend.

While Kristin never had her own children, she had a mother's heart. She loved other's kids as her own. She loved her horses, Roany and Nevada. And I know her sweet pup, Zoey, is going to miss her as much as we do.

Kristin had a contagious zest for adventure. She loved anything outdoors. Besides horseback riding, she loved fishing and mud riding! I cherish the memories we had of doing so many of those things together. Even now, I can hear her laughter and our memories are running on repeat through my mind.

Believing that Kristin is truly gone from this earth is not yet a reality. What hurts the most is knowing we can't make more memories. However, I thank God that we have the memories we do.

The greatest thing I'm thankful for is that Kristin left this world having accepted Christ as her savior. There's no doubt that she is alive and shaking up the heavens right now with her undeniable spirit.

 

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