Tonight we lost a dear friend. Nancy was not only a friend, but someone I deeply respected and looked up to. She was joyful, faithful to God, LOVED to talk and had an absolutely beautiful voice. Years ago (way before we were even trying to have kids) she mentioned two parenting books in class at church that she HIGHLY recommended. I immediately wrote them down so that I wouldn’t forget. I went back to my notebook after Josiah was born to look up the titles so I could buy them. I saw what kind of mother she was and how great her kids were and knew that if she recommended those books, I needed to read them. She was a wife to Jeff for 35 years, an incredible momma to four kids and grandma to two precious boys and one more who is due to arrive any day now.
Two years ago in March she ran a half marathon in Little Rock with her husband and daughters. A few months later she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). ALS affects your muscles and you gradually lose the ability to walk or move. One of the first things to go was Nancy’s ability to talk. For someone who talked and sang as much as she did, I can’t even imagine how difficult that was. For awhile she could communicate through an Ipad and then later through a computer which spoke for her. For the past year or so she’d been able to communicate by using her eyes to look at phrases or type out words by looking at the letters on a screen of an eye-gaze machine. Until this past February, she wrote on her blog entitled “More To Say.” Seeing her blog posts and knowing how long and hard it was to type out that many words on her machine absolutely amazed me.
She was diagnosed with ALS in July 2010. Several times over the years she’d talked to me about doing pictures of she and Jeff before they got too old. I called Jeff that October and asked if I could take pictures of them since we were going to be in town visiting family. He said he didn’t know if Nancy would want to, but would try to talk her into it. I told him to tell her that if she didn’t like any of them I would delete them. 🙂 (By that time she was sensitive about how her smile looked and was having difficulty walking.) She finally agreed and we did the session at their home and started in the front yard. Jeff is hilarious and kept making Nancy laugh. He helped her to the side yard for to take a few more and then asked her if she was done or wanted to take a few more in the backyard by some flowers. She DID. I was thrilled because she was having fun and was willing to let him help her walk a further distance.
I already miss my friend, but know she is well and whole, without any pain and is singing with the angels. These are my favorites from their session…
(The blue bracelets were worn by friends and family in Nancy’s honor. Romans 12:12 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”)
I have NO idea what he said, but love her expressions in these!