As I reflect on the passing of a dear friend and sister in our ward I am touched by the many lessons she was able to teach us all through her trial with bone cancer. I have learned so much from Catie Stubben. Here are just a few of those things.
1. I have learned from her to be grateful to experience all of the peaks and valleys in life and even enjoy and endure the valleys a little better by having a broader perspective. How quickly life can pass.
2. I have learned not to sweat the small stuff as much and focus on what is truly important. What was important to Catie was her family, her relationship with the Savior and being kind and reaching out to others. I actually received a gluten free cookie recipe in the mail from her that she found in a magazine when she was having terrible pain in her hip that made it difficult for her to walk. I was so touched by that and that she thought of me and was continually thinking of others.
3. I have learned through her example that it is possible to handle even the most difficult trials with such grace, beauty and even happiness on top of it all. Her husband Steve described it so well "I couldn't even begin to describe all the physical pains, discomforts, and annoyances she faced, nor the emotional weight she felt as she saw what was coming and worried about her kids, family, and friends she would leave behind. But despite all of this, though she had every reason to be angry or depressed, she remained positive--publicly and privately. She loved her family and friends, kept her faith in God, and never stopped smiling.
A couple weeks ago I was looking through pictures I have of Catie and something struck me. Even as she was facing cancer and death and everything that entails, I could always see happiness in her eyes and in her smile. all of the pictures of her while she was suffering tremendously. I am striving to be more like that as well. She was so happy for each day and moment that she was able to spend with her children."
4. I have learned to take opportunities to teach every time they present themselves. I had the privilege of serving with Catie in YW and when the YW made her a quilt and dropped it off to her, she talked to them about how grateful she was for the Temple and the knowledge that she was sealed to her family forever no matter what happened. She urged them to make that their goal and to prepare for it. It touched their hearts and there was not a dry eye in the crowd. When the YW wrote her valentines she was too sick to talk to them in person but she asked Sister Packham and I to tell the girls that you never know what life will bring or how short it might be and how important it is to always choose the right and focus on what is really important in life, to keep an eternal perspective.
5. To keep a sense of humor throughout our trials and always smile. :)
Thank you beautiful Catie. For everything. We love you!