This week I was planning on writing about something that was exciting and joyous that recently happened in my life. But time had other plans.
I knew I would have to write this post one day, I just didn’t think I would have had to write it so soon.
You never really know who will touch your life or change it. And, it doesn’t always come in the most obvious places either.
When I was 16 years old, my parents divorced. Directly following that my mom, me and my siblings moved to Indiana. My mom had to find work to support us as a single parent and so she found a job at a dry cleaners working for a man named Bob and his wife Penny.
She worked there for 15 plus years all the way until Bob and Penny closed the doors of the business about a year and a half ago. Throughout the years we became very close, and came to consider them very dear friends. My siblings and I grew up in front of them, working there on more than one occasion and we learned alot. From Bob, I learned how to be a good boss, how to run a business, as well as, how to really take care of your customers and employees.
From Penny, I learned how to be oneself. Completely and fully and with no apologize. She was a spitfire. A tough as nails little 4 ft tall woman, who could hold her own in every circumstance.
Just a few weeks ago Penny was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. When she came down to see us shortly after telling us, she did so to say her goodbyes. As I watched her, I noticed how poised and graceful she was. So brave. She fully accepted what was to come and had no qualms about it. The spitfire and taken life by the horns and given it what for. And, this was going to be no different. She will forever be one of my heroes.
Penny passed away on Saturday, her husband of 50 years by her side. We spent some time with her that day before she went. Bob told us about how they had met at 17 and 18 and married 6 months later. About how he thought he was marrying this angelic, quiet, and sweet little girl. Instead he ended up getting a firecracker kind of woman who learned to hold her own. He was both proud to have known her and brokenhearted to be losing her. Their story together would be over.
He told me, “I have been broke, but I have never been poor…we have had our highs and we have had our lows and now we are right here in the middle and that’s a good place to be.” There were times of struggle, and look back he didn’t know how they got through it, but in the end they always did. They were a great couple, and an inspiration to us all.
When someone dies of cancer, we tend to say they lost their battle with it. I never have liked that. It wasn’t true for Penny. With her, it was clear she had it right where she wanted it.
So, this one’s to you Penny. What a woman you were, you will be sorely missed.
Love you always,