“Things like this do not happen in our town, in our family or to our friends.” Those types of statements I could never relate to when I saw them on the news. Well, not until I got the call from my very best friend at a little after 7AM on November 1, 2017. When I heard her say, “I have breast cancer…” I could not comprehend it. Truly, there are no words to describe the experience of getting a call like that. The only thing I knew to do was to pray. I had my prayer partner on the other line, so I conferenced her in and we prayed. For all the fear, the worry, the sadness, I could only liken it to the story in the Bible about Jehoshaphat, where his enemy is upon him and he rallies his troops to cry out to God for victory. “God lead them to that victory!” But there was no way this could be happening to us.

Please allow me to explain our relationship in one simple story still related to this diagnosis. Just the day before, my best friend knew this information. She’s always up super early in the morning. I was on the road for work going to Rochester, it was Halloween and I called her to be certain that she had her traditional witch hat ready to go to Chipotle to get her free lunch based upon her “fly” costume that she wears EVERY year. “You hear that Chipotle story, EVERY YEAR.” We cracked up on the phone because that’s who we are. We think we are HILARIOUS and super fun to be around. On that day, she sounded like nothing was wrong. We were just us. She gave me the blues about calling her with “this mess” and informed me that the witch hat was ready, and she was going to be “FLY.” No doubt! She was still laughing, even though her world her been rocked by a phone call that she received the day before. We laughed together. That’s us. Once I had the chance to put two and two together, she told me “I could not tell you yesterday. Once I heard you driving that car, I would not tell you.” Her world was rocked, and she was still protecting others. Now, that’s a woman, a sister, a friend of amazing strength. Which again made it so difficult to comprehend that this was happening to us because Sadie is DA JOINT!

The whole experience was seemingly filled with contradictions. There were times that “I knew that I knew” (strong emphasis added here) that God would heal her. There were times when I was devastated by the thought of her being in pain. There were times when I knew that God would give her peace. There were times that I literally felt like a spoiled child on the floor crying because I did not get my way. I did not know how to help and more importantly how to take it away. I was filled with thoughts just swirling in my head all the time. Again, how can this happen? She does not smoke, she is always calm, cool and collected, she exercises, she CAN COOK, she goes to the doctor every year. She tells us to go to the doctor when we are sick! She’s our leader! How could this be happening?

It did happen to us and here’s what I learned from it! It solidified to me that my best friend is the strongest, bravest, most beautiful person in the whole wide world. I now know the importance of family, friends, community, colleagues, just overall relationship at every turn of a corner for a person. It is literally the difference between good health and bad health. In watching her husband, her sons, her father, her brother I learned the strength of men. In watching her mother, her sister, her grandmother, her sorority sisters, the other moms from her son’s sports teams I learned the strength of women. I know that faith and bravery do not mean that there is an absence of fear. I learned it is ok to feel your feelings. I learned that some feelings and thoughts are not what is about to happen.

There is a total of seven people in our “Crew” or “Sister Circle” as we call ourselves. From this experience, we became even closer. In fact, during the time of Sadie’s treatment we formed a “Sadie Prayer Call” every Thursday morning at 7AM. Thursday was the day of her treatments. Even though it’s been two years since her healing, we still have our 7AM Sadie Prayer Call. I learned to never forget. I learned to be thankful. The birth and continuance of the prayer call teaches me weekly that God uses all things. I learned that we are all unique. Our responses will be different. But, when we come together for our loved ones, we create a beautiful mosaic of love, faith and healing for times when things happen to us.

~ Kawanza Humphrey