We remember your smile – your laughter – your love. We remember you like it was just yesterday. On September 17, 2016, at the age of 53, Donna Mae Hairston went home. My mother’s ten-year battle with breast cancer was over. Her pain was over, but ours continued. Losing a loved one to cancer is never easy. By nature, we are selfish people. We want back our loved ones. Anger, fear and frustration fill our minds if we aren’t careful. But, there is hope!
I remember my mom getting the news that she had cancer. Sure, she cried; but she didn’t fear. She was not angry. Mom understood one thing – THE THING – that death had already been conquered at the Cross. Throughout her battle, I lost count of the people who told mom that they could not believe how happy and calm she was, even knowing she had cancer. I found myself amazed at her strength and contentedness. As the years went on, the outcome of her earthly battle became increasingly clear. The cancer continued to spread, and mom was becoming tired and weak. Years of chemo and radiation had taken its toll. Mom was now in constant pain, unable to even walk unassisted. When her doctors said they could do no more, my family was devastated. However, mom was ready. After getting her settled in at home after that final doctor’s visit, my sister asked mom if there was anything she needed. Mom’s only response was this: “Pray that I finish well.”
Mom’s hope in life and death was not in herself. She was the best person I’ve ever known, but her hope was not in her good works. She did everything the doctors asked of her, but her hope was not in medicine. Mom was brilliant – top of her class in high school and college – but her hope was not in her intellect. For she knew that good works, medicine and intellect are all fleeting.
As we celebrate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we remember those who are fighting. We remember those who are no longer with us. We remember their bravery. We remember their love. But most importantly, we must remember that our hope is found only in the finished work of our Savior – Jesus Christ. Mom believed that in the deepest echoes of her soul. That is why she did indeed finish well.
Love you, Momma.
Andrew J. Hairston, Jr.
Ninth Judicial Circuit of Alabama