Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Sweet Anissa

The most difficult part about writing has nothing to do with putting words down. It's not stringing sentences together or painting a picture. It's not even finding something worthwhile to say.

The part I find completely crippling is when you have a story to tell and cannot write anything else until it's finished. It is absolutely paralyzing to know that you cannot put another word on paper, or online, until you finish this. But the most agonizing part is when it's not your story to tell.

I've only met her in person three times, yet I love her. The first was at a blogging conference, Blissdom. I hadn't read her blog. I didn't know her story. But I did see a woman who's energy lit up a room and who's enthusiasm was violently contagious. Her smile was so inviting, I found myself drawn to this stranger immediately. I felt the need to introduce myself, if for no other reason than to just hear her speak.

Once I was home, I read through her blog, overwhelmed with admiration for her strength and sadness for her pain. This sweet woman, not much older than me, has been through more than anyone should endure in a lifetime.

She suffered a debilitating stroke and is continuing to fight the lasting effects.

Her baby daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia in June 2006; they just celebrated her first year since finishing the chemotherapy.

The family was separated due to her husband's work for eighteen months; they were just beginning to get settled in as a family.

But once again, this family is going through hell. Sweet Anissa has had two more strokes. She is in the ICU, on a ventilator. The prognosis hasn't been positive. The doctor's aren't giving this family much hope. But they see her fighting, they see her opening her eyes, they see the battle waging fiercely under the surface of this beautiful, courageous woman. A woman who despite all the perils she's dealt with in her short thirty five years, refuses to back down. A woman who has the tenacity of a thousand warriors at her fingertips. A woman who has so deeply touched the lives of people around the world through her writing, her honesty, her pain, her laughter and that gorgeous smile.

Anissa, we are all praying for you and will be here waiting.

"Because if there’s one thing the past years have taught me…recovering from a stroke, having a child diagnosed with cancer, chasing a dream, being a family apart for seventeen months…true strength doesn’t come from the body.

It comes from faith, soul, heart and love." ~Anissa Mayhew

*Anissa's husband, Peter, is updating her blog at and you can follow along there. If you would like to help the family, this post on one of her sites has a list of things they could desperately use to keep some normalcy in the lives of these precious children.

Thank you, friends. Thank you for letting me share my Sweet Anissa with each of you.

If anything like this ever happens to me, you people better find something nice to say...Got it?!