Charlotte Cox is a wonderful friend from my ward and neighborhood. I have known her for the past 9 years and she has been such an amazing example to me of someone who truly has done, and continues to do, hard things.
But enough of my ramblings. It's time to hear what Charlotte has done to help her through hard things...
I Can Do Hard Things- Charlotte Cox
When Desirae asked me to write this I thought it would be a simple thing. So not true. I am an unwilling participant in the heartache cancer brings into the lives of too many. I have not had the terrible ‘C’ word myself, but many in my family have: my father, sister, husband and three of our sons. Some are survivors, others not.
The ghost of cancer has been a constant companion in our home since 1975 when my husband was first diagnosed. Another constant companion, the one that has helped me through the ups and downs that cancer brings, is the Holy Ghost which brings comfort beyond measure. I can keep pressing forward.
I have learned over the years things that might offer a small measure of help to anyone who struggles with trials of any kind. I have learned there is no substitute for prayer whether it be your own prayers, those of family or friends or of complete strangers. That power is felt even by an inactive son who wondered why people would pray for him. To
humble yourself before the Lord and ask for His help when you know you can’t go on alone brings untold blessings.
I have learned the power of priesthood blessings given by humble men who serve the Lord. Those blessings give comfort and courage to meet the trials that come. My inactive husband learned and felt the power of blessings and asked for a blessing before each surgery he had. One time we were told by the doctors that his body was full of cancer, they would just determine how bad it was. Two dear neighbors gave him a blessing, one turned as he was leaving and said: “Don’t worry, there is no cancer”. And the miracle – the doctors found none.
I have learned the hard way to be unselfish in my prayers. It was difficult for me to stop praying for what I wanted: a healthy husband, and to pray for what was best for him.
It is HARD to let go. Years later I gave that counsel to a daughter-in-law as we went through the same experience with a husband/son. You learn to know when it is time to let go.
I have learned you need to have a sense of humor to get through the bad times. Yesterday talking with the same daughter-in-law all I said was ‘remember the right brothers’ and we both laughed. (A private family joke.)
I have learned patience the hard way. When you have had cancer every ache or pain brings the question ‘is the cancer back?’ The testing begins and you wait and wait, holding your breath. Sometimes the answer is what you pray for, sometimes not. But when you get the results you can plan, prepare and move on.
I have learned the power of a positive attitude, to never give up. At times doctors told us the only reason my husband or son were still alive was just sheer determination: ‘I will go fishing’. It is doubly important for the caregivers to have a happy, positive attitude even when things aren’t going well.
I have learned there is always a silver lining and things to be learned from each experience. That silver lining can come in many forms: a beautiful new baby grand daughter, comfort from a blessing received, a sunshiny spring day, a badly needed job for a 30-year stay-at-home mom.
In 2001 I was told my back was a ‘mess’ and I would be in a wheelchair within a year. The pain has been horrendous all the years since. I have learned regular exercise lets me still move and walk [for short distances and still no wheelchair]. A surgical procedure has cut the pain level in half most days which is a huge blessing.
2015 brought the news of a ‘massive’ hiatal hernia inoperable because of its size and my age. Can you believe the doctor thinks 81 is old? I have learned what I can and cannot eat to avoid the pain eating the wrong food causes.
I have learned there are angels among us to give hugs, encouragement, a treat, an arm to learn on. I have done HARD things because I know the Lord suffered for me. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus live and love me!
This gives me the courage to keep trying.
I love the statement by Elder Gary E. Stevenson: “I need to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do”. And sometimes I can still do HARD things.
-Charlotte Cox 2016
And thank YOU, the reader, for taking the time to read this post. Remember, YOU too, can do hard things.