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Thankful Thursdays #73: His name was Ed

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I didn’t know Ed personally, but we worked together.  Maybe for years, but I only became aware of his existence last July when we started together as FTF’s (full-time-flexibles) at the REC.

The first time I saw him, he had a bandage around his knee and he raised a question about getting time off for surgery during our orientation, during which it was made very clear that we had to report to work when we were scheduled, no exceptions.  An exception was made for him.

Weeks and months passed, and tall, skinny Ed got even thinner.  He started walking slower.  Then one day, I noticed he was toting around an oxygen tank.  And he walked even slower.  But he never missed work.

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One day we happened to be in the same part of the same break room at the same time, and he wasn’t looking too hot.

“You look like you’re fighting a hard fight,” I said.

“I’m fighting cancer,” he confided.

I found out he was going through chemotherapy, and his legs swelled each time he had a treatment, and those were the days he wore his big green pants and sandals.  He was smiling, despite his weakness, and was upbeat and positive.  I told him I would pray for him and he thanked me with a grateful smile.

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Then came the hard weeks and months.  He became so weak that he started using one of our rolling chairs as a walker, propping himself up on the back as he pushed it in front of him, and would pile up his stuff on the seat to cart around because he could no longer carry it.  The oxygen, which he used to only wear while sitting down and coming to and from work, now accompanied him on his breaks.  I got choked up every time I saw him, saddened by his diminished state, and inspired by his fortitude.  Pinned Image

“How much longer will you have to do the chemo treatments?” I asked him in passing one day.  I was still hopelessly optimistic for him.

“A long time,” he said, so weak he could barely smile, but he smiled anyway.  He always smiled when he saw me.  “My body is being stubborn.”

Anyone can give up...

That was my first inkling that he really might not make it.  I didn’t know him except to give him a friendly smile in passing, but my heart ached to know that after fighting so hard, he might not win his battle with cancer.  I cried that day as I worked, and many days after, praying to God to strengthen Ed and help him through this struggle, whichever way it may go.  That if it wasn’t His will to heal Ed, then to keep him from suffering too much.

And then the news came.  He didn’t show up one day, and I heard through the grapevine that he had taken a turn for the worse and was in the hospital.

A week later, last Saturday, he passed away.  He worked all the way up until a week before he died.

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God forbid his fight and his strength and dedication go unnoticed.  I didn’t know Ed.  But he taught me by example that we are stronger than our circumstances.  That we can overcome practically anything to carry on with life until it ends.  He inspired me in his last months, and witnessing his strength and commitment to his job made me a better person.  I can tell you that there have been days I really felt like I couldn’t work, whether for health or emotional reasons, but I didn’t call in because I knew Ed would have showed up no matter what.  And if he could do it, dying, I could do it, my life ahead of me.

Thank you, Ed.  Your legacy lives on in my heart, and perhaps in the hearts of many of your co-workers.  You were a shining example to us.  Every time I feel weak, I know I will remember your strength.  When I’m weak, He will make me strong, and I will be thinking of you for the rest of my life, leaning ever harder on my Lord for the strength and courage that you displayed.

With God, I can do anything.  I’m stronger than my disease and any circumstance that befalls me.  Today, I’m thankful to Ed for teaching me that.

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

16 responses »

  1. Powerful, powerful words! I am going to use some of these photo sayings, wow! Thank you for sharing! May Ed rest in the arms of Jesus….no more sorrow, no more tears.

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    • I didn’t think of you when I was writing this, but I’m glad you can draw some strength from it in your own situation, Tonya, it does me good to know that Ed’s strength is helping you too. And that is my most fervent wish, that he is at peace in heaven now. I just wish I’d made a point of finding out if he was saved and helped lead him to God if he wasn’t. I thought there would be more time, but we never know.

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  2. You have me in tears, my dear. I can’t believe he worked up until a week before dying–that both inspires me and breaks my heart at the same time.

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  3. Kleenex please. What an inspiration and what determination Ed showed. You’re right his legacy lives on. Thank you for sharing.

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    • I can’t tell you how much I cried while writing this. I cry every time I think of him. His death has affected me more than those of people I dearly loved.

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  4. Yep, I am with Suzie – pass the tissues! Great post V – I needed this to get me out of my funk . . . thanks for sharing Ed’s story!

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    • Biz, I’m so glad you drew encouragement from this because I thought of you while writing it and hoped it would be discouraging since Ed’s story doesn’t have a happy ending. I did like the end thing about what cancer do. It can take our lives but it can’t break us!

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  5. An amazing post.

    I just wante to add that I found your blog yesterday and have mentioned a couple of your recipes on my own blog today-as I’m basing today’s kitchen capers on a couple of them.

    http://sufficientlysufficient.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/fridays-fridge.html

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  6. God bless Ed and his wonderful story. Thank you for sharing such inspiring quotes and such an emotionally moving story my friend. It was beautiful

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  7. Wow. Wow. I have tears in my eyes over here. What a touching story. You wrote it beautifully Veronica, with such kindness and admiration. Thank you for passing Ed’s story along for all of us to think about. It’s amazing how someone you don’t know all that well can have such an influence in your life. Very powerful.

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  8. This post is amazing, Veronica. Ed was an amazing man and I’m so happy his story of perseverance will live and reach so many people…I hope it brings them hope and courage. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m going to share on Facebook right now.

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  9. This is such a heartbreaking and yet inspiring post! If only we could all have as much fortitude and strength as Ed!

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  10. I am here via Faith (Edible Mosaic) and am so happy I am – this was a wonderful read about perseverance and strength. It made me sad and it makes me hopeful – as I am currently helping my father battle his own cancer fight. Reading the last photo of what cancer does NOT do? Wonderful. <3

    Thank you for sharing Ed with us – may he rest in peace.

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  11. My Italian Smörgåsbord (Aka Barbara)

    such a beautiful, inspired and inspiring post. I am so sad for this unknown guy that had to work even if sick. allow me to think that life s…ks. but it is always moving to see people going through the impossible with dignity. I am so positive I would not be one of them. I kick and scream and yell at the whole word… but I admire people who don’t.

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  12. This was beautiful Veronica. Ed sounds like he deserves this post and you are such a wonderful person for writing it. Barbara said it perfectly.

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