The other night as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across KTVB's page. I usually read the headline and keep scrolling. That night was different. The headline read, "Clean MRI for pregnant mother of five with brain cancer." Was it the "clean MRI" that caught my attention, "brain cancer", or "pregnant mother of five". Either way, I felt drawn to open the article and read. As I read the tears began to well in my eyes. I knew the journey this family was just beginning to start, my heart broke for them. I was drawn to an email at the end of the story, I felt a pull to share part of my story. I honestly thought, this woman is probably consumed with emails, I would never hear from her. But there was a peace inside of me, by sharing in an email I figured would never get read. I mentioned in the email of my blog, that by chance it may help the family and/or friends close to Kim and Phil. The next morning I was shocked! The friend to the family that I had emailed responded to my email. I share this story with Team Corta, so we can pray for this beautiful family. Kim has had two GBM tumors removed, but due to the fact she is pregnant she is waiting to have chemo and radiation until after the birth of her baby. They are relying on prayer and by the grace of God the tumors won't grow. I know how vicious this type of tumor is, that is why I am asking to pray for Kim and Phil Vaillancourt of Tonawanda, New York. I have been in contact with a family friend, and we have corresponded almost daily. It was comforting hearing her tell me, reading my story has touched them.
One more prayer request from Team Corta, a dear friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Last week she had a double mastectomy, please add her and her family to your prayers. The power of prayer can be the difference in any situation. I know Shauna and her family will be grateful for any prayers you may send their way. Team Corta, my prayer Warriors, you seem to never disappoint; thank you in advance for all your prayers!
Four and half months has felt like an eternity. My days are filled with tears still, but I realize it is part of my healing. I sit at the cemetery some days for three plus hours, the ache of missing Doug's presence consumes me often. But there are 20 young ladies that have been placed on my heart and brought me a bit of peace in the last few weeks. In October I was asked if I would speak to a girls basketball team, to share my strength and inspiration with ten 15-18 year olds. I was completely honored to be asked, but my life got turned up side down before I got to speak to them. So I turned to text messages, my first text went out on November 2nd. I continued sending Game Day texts before each game these young ladies played in. I spoke like I always do, from my heart. I shared quotes, I shared bible verses and how it plays out in the game of basketball, I shared mostly my own words of encouragement. I grasped onto this "motivational coach" title. I thoroughly loved speaking words into these young ladies lives. It was the evening before the State Tournament that touched me the most. To actually speak to them in person, look them in the eyes while I spoke, along with being able to give each of them a hug, that meant the most. Although they thought I was helping them, it was what they were bringing to me that was an encouragement. I am beyond grateful for these 10 amazing young ladies and their coach. Cassie, thank you for allowing me to inspire your girls! The next 10 young ladies, are actually 10-11 year olds. These special girls melted my heart. I am thankful their parents trusted me and allowed me to coach them, even while I am going through the toughest time of my life. These girls gave me 5 hours a week to escape my grief and mentor them while playing the game of basketball. These 10 young girls will forever be etched in my heart!
In the journey of my grieving process, I am seeing good happening all around me. Good that I am being reminded is from Doug and I's story. Good from what Doug represented, what he built within himself, who he was and who he became. Blessings that remind me just how powerful one person can be.
My nephew, who is in the 6th grade, came over to the house. He tells me he had to write a paper in class titled, A Hero In My Life. He follows with, I wrote it on Uncle Doug, and I want you to have my paper. Here is his writing,
My hero is my late Uncle Doug Corta. He passed away on November 6, 2016. I admire him because he was always happy and loved coaching softball. He never let down his family. He was a fighter once he was diagnosed with cancer. He was very loving to his family and friends. My Uncle Doug was caring and helpful. He is my hero.
Two years ago, he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma stage 4 brain tumor. He fought continually from then on to be the best he could be. Whether it was traveling to Seattle for an MRI every month or during the two surgeries he had. He never got down on himself and he always kept fighting. Everybody in the community knew what was going on with him and his family. He is my hero because he never got mad at his diagnosis or down when he had to go to Seattle for MRI's or surgeries.
He believed that he could fight through it and live his life better. The tumor kept getting worse and worse and worse every day. They had to start going to Seattle to see a different doctor that did MRI's and surgeries. He always had a smile on his face. He loved his softball girls, coaching them, and his family. Knowing that his whole family was there for him helped him through the hard times. Being with his three girls and helping them with softball definitely motivated him to keep going.
Everybody in the community knew his face. He taught me that if something happens, never get down and keep fighting. He was a security guard at the Eagle High School football games. At halftime of the games he would always let me go on the field and he would throw the football to me. Before he died in November he was the softball coach and his team won the Girls State Softball Championship for Eagle. They finished their season 30-1. Right after that he couldn't celebrate because he had to go right to Seattle for an MRI. When they got the results, it wasn't good. It showed that the tumor had grown. He taught me to never give up and keep going, no matter what the situation you're faced with. I would like to be like him because he was a very strong person. I admire him for being so brave.
My hero is my Uncle Doug Corta. Even after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, he was able to continue coaching softball, running a restaurant business, and providing for his family. He was the bravest man I knew and I admire him for being so calm and living his life to the fullest no matter what he was going through. I love him and really miss him. I hope one day to be just like him. ~Braden Brown
It is the lives, I had no idea, were being touched that open my eyes to what part of this journey is all about. Braden, Uncle Doug would be honored by your words!
As I walked into my basketball practice, two players said, "we have something for you, but you might cry so we are going to give it to you after practice." I of course responded, yes please wait until after. So as practice came to an end, here came two smiling faces. "Coach, we made fruit punch and sold it door to door. We told people we were doing it for our coach and what you had been through. We want to give your family what we raised, because of everything you and your family has had to go through." Tears filled my eyes as they handed me an envelope. Then they say, "we raised $154.00 for you." Now my tears were falling down my face. I hugged both girls, looked them in the eyes and told them, you both are why I coach! Not only fabulous athletes, but extraordinary young girls. Getting life lessons through the game they love, basketball!
I struggled going back to church after Douglas passed away. Singing of miracles, preachings on healing and how The Lord can move people and change lives. I wanted nothing to do with it. In fact numerous times, I almost ran out of the sanctuary because I could not bare to hear it. I was in complete reservation of what I thought was suppose to happen. We didn't get our miracle! Where we thought by the grace of God Doug would be healed, he wasn't in my eyes. I have prayed numerous prayers in the past 4 months, and I relied on this,
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Hear me, do you not hear me! Do you not hear my cries, do you not hear me screaming, do you not hear the tears hitting my pillow. Do you not hear me speak as I sit for hours at the cemetery, do you not hear my broken heart crumbling to the ground, do you not hear me! And then it happened. . . I HEARD HIM!
All the time I was thinking he wasn't hearing me, he heard me! But I was being so loud I could not hear his response. The Lord brought the most profound understanding to my soul. I spoke to my cousin one day and she said I read something that I think you need to hear. There was something in a book that said, this person was healed just not cured. I remember saying out loud, that is good! I sat for days with what she said, and on about the fourth day my soul felt something it hadn't.
The Lord heard all my cries, all my screaming, all my prayers, all my questioning. He hears my broken heart crumbling, patient, he has been patient with me until he knew I would hear him. And I would hear him clearly. We pray prayers of healing, and at the moment of that prayer it is the physical body becoming healthy that we want. We believe we are praying for the physical body to be whole, healed! But I now realize there is a much deeper healing that is the actual outcome of our prayers. As I finally opened my eyes after speaking to my cousin, Douglas was COMPLETELY HEALED! He had healed relationships that needed mended, he had healed his soul with Christ, he had become healed with who he was. All the prayers we prayed, were answered, he was healed. He just wasn't cured! Our journey needs to be healed, healed in the name of Jesus, healed by the grace of God! Healed in our relationships! Healed within yourself! Today with tears running down my face, Team Corta, best prayer warriors around, I am shouting out a Victory! Giving the glory to God for the HEALING of Douglas!
The gaping wound I hold in my heart is still present. I'm thinking it will be there for years. As quick as I scream victory, please understand this process has almost broken me. For those that think I have it all together, let me just tell you a very raw story.
The last week and half has been extremely hard. Softball season started, and driving to those games alone were excruciating. Sitting at the field that he groomed, tugged on my heart. So in one of my break downs, I ran away from home! In my jammies and slippers I grabbed Doug's blanket jumped in my pick up and began driving. Where was I going? I had no clue. I knew I needed to let the girls know I would be ok, so I sent Demi a text. " Sister I went for a drive, I didn't tell Z or Bent but wanted someone to know where i was. I promise I'll be ok, but I don't know when I'll be home." I had no one to turn to, no one to listen to me, no one to comfort me. Yeah, I guess I was being selfish. Demi replied, ok love you! See I am smarter than you think. I text my almost 16 year old, because I knew she would just reply OK! If I had text my older girls they would have been like, where are you going, this is stupid, you need to stay here, why are you leaving. So as I drove, bawling and rain hitting my windshield I knew I had to get off the road before I caused a wreck. So I parked. When I left the house it was 10:03pm. I sat in the pick up screaming at the top of my lungs, bawling to the point of almost hyperventilating. I grabbed my phone dialed the only number that I knew would understand me. Thank God she has my number in her phone. As she said hello, I couldn't speak. She could hear me crying and simply said, "Jacki, breathe. Just take small breaths dear. What is going on." Still only tears and mumbled words of I miss him so much I can't do this, I can't do this alone. She followed it up with, it sucks! IT JUST SUCKS! See Karen is who answered my phone call at 10:45pm. Karen and I have been connected because of one horrible thing. Her husband passed away a year ago December from GBM brain cancer. Her 3 girls are the exact age of my 3 girls. So as I tried to pull it together, she spoke truthful words, how it doesn't get easier, it gets somewhat manageable. I expressed how I feel I am pulled, I'm a stylist, I'm the boss, I'm in charge of employees, I'm the rock of support to my three grieving daughters, I'm a mom, I'm trying to run two businesses. When all I want to be is a grieving wife! Karen sat and talked to me for an hour and twenty minutes. Unfortunately understanding everything I was saying. Our biggest discovery was I have got to start sleeping! So my goal has been set, and I am working towards getting back into my bed and possibly sleeping more than 3 hours. As I hung up, I had 23 missed calls and 18 text messages. Bentli became aware of my disappearance, couldn't reach me, got Z and Shanan involved and that's why my phone blew up. I sent Bent a text, said I was fine I was talking to Karen and I would be home later. I sat there crying holding Doug's blanket for another 2 hours. I ended up back home around 2:45am.
Is what I am doing healthy, who the hell truly knows what is healthy. I needed to throw a two year old tantrum, and bonus is I can drive and don't need to just throw myself on the floor. Will it be my last, nope I know that for sure. And I am allowing myself to do it as many times as I need. I saw this great quote that fits me, " It feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives while I am stuck in this hole that I can't climb out of."
But I know when I'm ready for a hand, all I have to do is reach up and I will be pulled out of the hole or pulled to the stairs to climb out. I think there are days I take a few steps up, then I find myself retreating. I am aware, I do not want to stay in the hole. Be patient with me on this journey. I am figuring things out, I am finding a new, I am still trusting in a plan bigger than I can see. I am knowing JOY is coming back inside one day!
I know God has a plan. I pray for the directions to follow it, patience to wait for it, and knowledge to know when it comes.
Love and Blessings to all