This was originally published in the Highlands County News Sun on Sunday, March 13, 2005 in the column "Laura's Look." Please do not reprint without my permission.
I met June about 6 or 7 years ago when she and her husband Ed first moved to the area and became members of our congregation. June was a marvelous lady, upbeat, with a sense of humor and a lovely singing voice. Those who saw her on the street or about her day probably did not guess that she was engaged in a long battle with cancer. For 18 years June fought the disease, undergoing surgery and treatments. She was able to keep a bright side through most of it, cheerful and refusing to feel sorry for herself. She was active in the work of the church and our Ladies Bible Class.
June was a singer. I loved listening to her as we sang during services. She often sang tenor, and did so beautifully. She once told me I had a good alto voice, but I could never sing as easily as she could. Let me put it this way: I sing. June was a SINGER.
June was a good friend to me. I remember being upset about something that had happened one day and calling her on my cell phone. She comforted me as I sat in my car sobbing in a WalMart parking lot She could make this wonderful chocolate dessert. Knowing my love for chocolate, she once made one of these things just for me. It was huge, a delicious layered dessert in a glass trifle bowl. It took me several days with the help of my family to eat it all, and I enjoyed every bite. When I announced in our Ladies Bible Class that I was going through problems with my siblings, June made a point of sharing the problems she had gone through with her sibling and encouraged me that, in the end, it had turned out well. This was while she was dealing with her last fight with disease. Even though she was going through so much in her own life, her heart had room to embrace my cares and reach out to me. June's last fight was a hard one - fluid in her lungs made breathing difficult and cancer weakened her. While she was in the hospital for treatment, her husband Ed passed away without warning. We mourned his loss, and I knew it would be harder for June to fight. She had long been ready to go home; she had waited out of love for Ed. Early last week this brave warrior laid down her burden and went home to rest. The tears I cry are not for her - I know she is so much happier now. I cry for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, June's daughter, who has lost both father and mother in so short a time, and a lot for myself.
June taught me that bad things did not have to mean you had a bad attitude. You could look outside yourself and the things that tried to drag you down and see sunshine. You could be going through the worst time of your life, but you could lay aside your sorrow and reach out to someone who was hurting.
June also helped me to put my problems in perspective when they threatened to make me crazy. If she could make lemonade out of the lemons her health handed her, what made me think I couldn’t when my problems were so small in comparison?
Somehow I imagine June entering Heaven with a smile on her lips and a song pouring out. While my world is a little darker with her loss, surely Heaven will be a little brighter with her presence.
Rest well, dear June. You have undoubtedly earned it. May I remember your bright outlook when things look dark.