Warrior Sisters of Hope

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My husband called my sister and I: Warrior Sisters of Hope in a Valentine’s Card he sent to us during my February visit………and so we have been. We stepped onto the battlefield of cancer together shoulder to shoulder September 27, 2013. We will celebrate the victory of my sister’s upgrade into her heavenly assignment March 27, 2017. It has been such a sacred honor to accompany this courageous woman to the summit of her life here on earth. Cancer roared it’s threats in our face and we chose to drown all negativity with songs of rejoicing. I helped my sister gather stones to build altars along the way where I stood as a witness as she sacrificed her breasts for a breastplate, her hair for a helmet, her physical beauty for the belt of truth,  her mental acuity for the Gospel of Peace, her energy for the shield of faith and  her performance based identity for the Sword of the Lord. Our greatest fear was chemo and radiation because we had watched our mother suffer from the cancer treatments themselves. We avoided “the giants” inhabiting that territory for six months trying an organic approach, banning the use of all chemical products, drinking filtered water, eating organic foods only, avoiding gluten, limiting consumption of meat, exercising daily, and absorbing twenty minutes of sunlight everyday. Jesus, however; called daily from the avoided Territory, “ Come Girls, there is treasure here I want you to find; I want to give you My Perspective; we will do it together; I will never let go of your hand. Just watch the glory manifested when your faith and My Majesty unite on the battlefield! It will devastate the enemy!” So March 17, 2016, we began chemo. I brought shamrock beads for us to wear since it was St. Patrick's Day.

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 Taken 3-17-16

Dawn broke with a violent thunder storm as my sister and I walked between the clash of two kingdoms. I developed an intense urinary track infection as the day unfolded. I had to go to the emergency room while my sister went to her first chemo without me. A rock cracked the windshield of my sister’s car as they drove to the treatment center. When we all gathered at the house at 6:00 pm following my emergency room visit and my sister’s treatment, my sister commented that the enemy did not succeed in his attempts to generate fear, anxiety or despair and we laughed together until we were breathless.

Exactly one year later: March 17, 2017 my sister and I began the final ascent to the summit of her life here on earth. We had struggled with the altitude since my arrival March 11. My sister’s labored breathing from pneumonia made conversation impossible so we sat together in silence holding hands, I read to her at times to distract us both from the sound of her labored breathing. I kissed her every time we transitioned from the chair to the bed. My intention was to walk this last mile with joy. I had to increase my singing to maintain it. I have been making one Graham Cooke Warrior Declaration each day since February. The following are my declarations since arriving in Texas March 11. There are 337 Declarations. 

March 11- I was on #34 Warriors know how to rejoice. 

I found my sister on the bathroom floor in the morning, she had fallen sometime during the night and had been there an extended time. When we got her back in bed, she simply said, “Thank You.” I started camping out in her bedroom from that night on so I could help her every time she got up in the night. I was so consumed with concern for her safety and comfort I forgot to make my Warrior Declaration on March 12. However, March 13 I was back on track.

March 13- #35 Warriors know how to be still. 

We took my sister to the doctor. It was grueling for her to sit in the wheel chair the hours we had to wait, but she did not complain.

March 14- #36 Warriors hold their nerve in the face of enemy attack.

I observe my sister is getting weaker and disoriented. She would start a statement and not be able to finish it.

March 15- #37 Warriors have God’s heart.

My sister’s gift is the ability to sow love into the lives of those around her. Even in her illness, the love has continued to flow from her.

March 16- #38 Warriors have God’s favor.

My sister has a CT scan. The wait was again grueling in the wheel chair. Her husband and I encouraged her repeatedly to finish drinking all the contrast mixture required for the test. She slowly consumed one fourth the amount required and silently refused to sip another drop. A nurse finally tapped me on the shoulder and told me they could give the contrast intravenously. We went home in between the scan and the doctor visit to receive the results. My sister refused to get up again to make the appointment to hear the results so we received them by phone which worked better for all three of us. The Cancer Center is about 30 minutes away from the house. Pneumonia was the diagnosis.

March 17- #39 Warriors don’t look for sympathy, they look to be empowered.

I receive in my spirit that this is the day my sister will graduate into eternal life. We call 911 around 7:00 am. Her doctor meets us at the hospital around 8:00 am. He stands beside her bed and comments what a brave warrior she has been. He states that he has administered the best medical resources at his disposal and the cancer is no longer responding. He acknowledges that her goal has always been quality life. He confesses the chemo probably caused the pneumonia and given the current state of affairs he can no longer provide quality life. With tenderness, he speaks directly to my sister and says: I believe you are ready to move on into your heavenly home. My recommendation is to stop all treatment and simply keep you comfortable as you make the transition from this life into the next. Do you want to follow my recommendation? My sister opened her eyes (which we have rarely seen this week), smiled, and said, “Yes!”  The doctor then turned his attention to the family around her bed and promised us a gentle death. He encouraged us to stay with her because she would need our love and encouragement to let go. The hospital staff allowed approximately ten of us to gather around her bed and spiritually lift her with our love and gently lay her at heaven’s gate. Her breathing began to slow down. I started to sing our family’s signature song: Because He Lives. As I concluded the song, my sister took her last breath. I pictured the gates opening and magnificent light pouring through spilling onto my sister where we had spiritually placed her. Jesus, himself, knelt beside her and tenderly kissed her forehead. Her eyes opened and she smiled up at Him as their eyes met. Jesus lifts her into His arms and at that moment she is transfigured in the radiant light of His smile…….her beautiful long brown hair once again hangs down her back. My sister is dressed in His righteousness which manifests itself as a flowing white satin wedding gown covered with sparkling sequins and pearls. Jesus lovingly and proudly carries her across the threshold into His heavenly Kingdom. 

I found the following as I left the hospital on the pavement in the parking lot:

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I also found in the floor of my sister’s closet…..the shamrock beads I had given her a year ago. I’ll be wearing them to the celebration of her life March 27, 2017.

March 18- #40 Warriors are people who can get up, dust themselves off, and get on with it. 

So I now proclaim with the Apostle Paul: I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No Beloved, I am still not all I should be,but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this on thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:12-14 Living Version

John Stetzer