August 30th 2015, a date that never held much sinificance to me, now means more to me than I thought one day could. That’s the day that my best friend returned home to his Heavenly Father after a long and absolutely courageous battle with a rare spinal cord cancer. I took on a new title, widow. That day changed me, for the better!
My name is Marcie Cragun, at the age of 29 and just 11 days shy of our 4th wedding anniversary I became a widow. With two young boys (ages 3 and 18 months), I had a choice to make. To live, or let my life, hopes, and dreams die with my husband. I chose to live, I chose to make each day count.
Bart and I were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on 09.10.11. Just weeks into our marriage we found out we were pregnant with our first miracle baby. Six months into our marriage, and 5 months into my pregnancy we found out that Bart had a large tumor growing within his spinal cord and he was rushed into major surgery. Soon after he endured 6 weeks of grueling full spine and brain radiation. He finished this just as our little man was born.
We had 12 months of “wonderful” following that brush with cancer. Bart went back to work, and we welcomed a second son the day after Bart’s 32nd birthday. Sadly, at a routine appointment in September 2014, we found out that his cancer had returned and there were limited options left. He could try radiation and a new chemo pill, but they weren’t promising great results.
Through all of our trials I have always been told how inspiring my point of view has been. I choose to look at the positive side of things. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of times where I grieve and get mad as anyone should. I had a very trying adolescence and found myself deep in the darkest holes of despair. I was lucky to get myself out, and I vowed never to get there again.
I struggle some days, but I don’t set up camp. I don’t dwell on any of it. I note it, I write my feelings down, and learn from it. The mind is a powerful thing, my personal feeling is that if you condition your brain to seek out the positive, it will come naturally to you soon enough. Looking for and recording every tender mercy (sign from God) that I see almost daily is what keeps me going. He loves us, and NEVER forgets us. He wants us to be happy… It’s hard for Him to watch His children in pain, so he sends these tender mercies to us to remind us He cares. They are special/sacred gifts and we are lucky to have them.
Bart tried all remedies that conventional treatment had to offer, and he quit chemo cold turkey in March 2015 and started doing natural remedies. I was not a fan of this approach, but as he and I prayed and studied about these treatments — we grew to love what they offered. QUALITY, not necessarily quantity. He spent the last months of his life receiving intravenous vitamins and was on numerous supplements. We wouldn’t change a thing.
In August, he ultimately passed away from progression of the cancer growing in his spinal cord. I couldn’t be prouder of him. He had such faith in God and the strongest testimony I have seen. Because of this, I know God let him die in such a dignified manor, and he NEVER was paralyzed by this awful disease.
Our marriage continues on… Marriage, to me is more than just that piece of paper. It is a divine calling from God. It is OF God. The closer I am to Him, the closer I am to my husband. I know that if I continue to live my life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, I will see my husband again. We will be a whole family once again.
My late husband, who was an avid weight lifter, heard this motto from a famous weight lifter, Ronnie Coleman, but it comes from the wonderful, Maya Angelou. “Ain’t nothin to it, but to do it.” It’s kind of silly, but when thought about in context, it means a lot. I have adopted this saying as my personal motto. Two days before he passed, I had written this quote for him on our bathroom mirror, and there it stayed until we moved. No matter the trial or obstacle ahead of you, you’ve got to just do it. Plain and simple, just keep moving forward.
Questions to Ponder:
- How does gratitude and a positive attitude help you move forward? How can you be more positive
- How can journaling help you remain positive?