Grace in Paula’s Final Moments: A Breast Cancer Lesson

Gratitude and Grace

Gratitude is to be thankful. Grace is to demonstrate thanks. An attitude in gratitude is essential if you are to honor your commitments and complete your goals. Gratitude and grace are essential if you are to become a self-advocate, develop a healthy self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence, and fill the empty void. For these reasons, we must learn to be thankful for our minutes and hours of grief, pain, sorrow, and sadness as well as our minutes and hours of happiness. For it is in these trying times, we are shown our true strengths and provided the opportunity to see the strengths and grace in others and ourselves. I give you a few stories of grace.

A Piece of Me: Grace in Paula’s Final Moments

Paula was a fellow teacher. With her family and four close girlfriends by her side, she heard the diagnosis of a rare form of breast cancer and bone cancer. She went through years of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery; she continued teaching until she was forced to resign. Teaching gave her a sense of inner peace and focus.

When it became evident that her days on this earth were ending, I crawled deep within myself to understand our purpose as friends. This is what I walked away with after hours of inner dialogue. This is also part of the letter I gave to her family.

“Never take a day for granted. Appreciate life, appreciate a few extra pounds,  appreciate each breath and living thing. Go outside while you can, because someday you may only be allowed twenty minutes. Walk every day because someday you might not be able to walk to your own kitchen without help. Embrace the warmth of the sun and the colors of the earth; take in their beauty. Treat people with compassion; be brave; be kind; say “thank you,” and if you can’t do it yourself, ask for help because good friends will help. Love completely and with an open heart. Enjoy the dance because it ends quickly. Find peace; make it if you have to. Love your God; thank him for each breath, each day, each and every thing and person who comes into your life. If that thing or person brings you pain, embrace it and thank him anyway.”

Lorna Stremcha is the author of, Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight…a woman-to-woman recipe for life, Bravery,Bullies & Blowhards: Lessons Learned in a Montana Classroom, an award winning teacher, an advocate against school and workplace bullying, a listed speaker for Bullying Police USA and is one of the first thirteen individuals to co-author the healthy work place bullying act in the United States. Today Lorna shares her life lessons with others in hopes of helping them live a healthier life after bullying and sexual harassment.


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