Holding Space

With Shelly Vaughn

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This picture means so much to me. Last night I was invited to participate in a fashion show in my hometown of Greensburg. It was fun and different and a really great experience. This picture represents the part of the evening that meant the most to me. The girl on the left is Kelli Brisbane, who organized the show! She has such a sweet soul and she knew my cousin, Amy. My mom is next in the picture- one of the strongest survivors I know. Next is Wendy Bell. She used to work for the local news station in Pittsburgh… with Amy. Prior to the show backstage, I saw Wendy sitting in her dressing room and timidly introduced myself. I wanted to remind her that I had met her a few times back when Amy was sick and last saw her at Amy’s funeral. I said “I’m not sure if you remember my cousin, Amy.” She paused for not even a second, put her hand up to her heart, and said, “I will never forget that girl. How is her son, Michael?” She told a few stories about Amy and the impact she had on her life. She genuinely cared to know how everyone in the family was doing, especially Michael who she remembered holding as a baby when he started crying during the funeral. It felt so nice to talk about Amy again and hear others talk about her. It reminded me that my own struggles are just that- my own. And each person has their own. They may not seem comparable to each other, but the effect they have on our lives can be comparable. Wendy has gone through some very public struggles recently, leading her to reflect differently on life and family. Kelli has been through her own as well. Their struggles aren’t cancer, but they’re just as powerful in their lives. And they can be used just as strongly to shape these women into role models for others. The way we respond to the challenges we face can be such an opportunity to teach grace and love to others… and be a testimony of our faith in Christ. I pray that I can use my experience to show others how God has carried me through the fog… especially as I feel closer and closer to coming to the end of these treatments. And I feel so lucky to have had Amy as such a strong role model to me- in her life and especially as she faced her passing. Missing her dearly today.