A very good friend and truly remarkable woman passed away April 5th 2010 and although over the recent years our lives crossed paths much less often than I would have liked, she has always been in my thoughts and prayers.
It was over 5 years ago that Chris learned of her Lung Cancer, the prognosis wasn't good as she had an aggressive form and the cancer had already progressed. She wasn't expected to live more than a year or two but I believe that because of the positive personality she had and the optimistic person she was, she knew she had much more life to enjoy than the doctors had predicted.
From the time Chris was diagnosed I saw what an amazingly strong woman she was and although she fought her cancer on every possible level, she also gave herself the gift of her life and made sure that the time she had with her husband and sons was spent, as much as possible, in creating lasting fun memories for them to have and always carry with them.
I remember a couple of years ago Chris helped in putting together a fundraiser, not just for herself but for the LUNGevity Foundation (committed to medical research into diagnosis, treatment, and cure of lung cancer) and for the very first time I heard the phrase...."I Have Cancer but Cancer Doesn't Have Me". That phrase truly seemed to fit Chris for when she was with her friends, her cancer was not her primary focus, being with her friends, just enjoying the moment and having a good time was.
I would never really ask Chris how she was doing, part of me thinks because I really didn't want to know, but also because when I was young my mother had chronic pain. The doctor had told us kids to stop asking our mom how she was feeling, because every time we did, if she was having a good day or even just a good moment, asking that question would only let the pain back in....and I didn't want to open that door.
So although I really have no true idea of what Chris and her family struggles and triumphs have been over these last 5+ years, this is what I do know of her....
-She was a fabulous wife, mother and daughter and deeply loved by them.
-She had remarkable strength and was a force to be reckoned with when the need arose.
-She was a Soccer Mom and took great pride in watching and supporting her sons at all their games and sporting events.
-She was a wonderful friend and had more friends than she could count.
-She could always find the joy and good in everything.
-She will be greatly missed.....
I know that Chris will truly be missed by many for she has touched countless lives. We are all the better for having been blessed to have known her, are grateful for the wonderful memories of her...and our Hearts will always miss her....
In loving memory of our friend Christine Anne Stepanek Dec 10,1963 - April 5, 2010