Joy In The Morning
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Joy In The Morning

A tribute to my cousin's long hard fight and the grace of God.

Joy In The Morning
Rachel Peterson

My cousin graduated. It was probably much like any other ceremony this time of year – plenty of tears, flowers, speeches and hats thrown in the air. Plenty of awards and school banners and distant family members.

But this one was different because my cousin graduated. She walked down the aisle. She walked up the stairs. She wore a medal and a robe and a tassel, and she stood with her sister and mother and sang. And she smiled. She smiled with more joy and excitement than I have seen in a long time.

As she stood on the stage, she sang:

It's been a long dark night
And I've been a waitin' for the morning
It's been a long hard fight
But I see a brand new day a dawning
I've been looking for the sunshine
'Cause I ain't seen it in so long
But everything's gonna work out just fine
Everything's gonna be all right
That's been all wrong.
(Light of a Clear Blue Morning by Dolly Parton)

It has been a long dark night and she has been waiting for the morning for a long, long time. Ever since May of 2014, my cousin has been dealing with both the treatment and after-effects of brain cancer. I was in the hospital when she went in for surgery the first time on May 18. I was there that Sunday morning as my uncle and aunt prayed with everyone there that somehow God would heal my bright-eyed cousin.

It's been a long hard fight. She persevered through chemotherapy and radiation, hospitals and road trips in the winter just to reach the right doctor. Then she felt the effects of the treatment. She lost cognitive functions, motor skills and the use of her right hand.

I can never know everything she went through. I'll never fully understand the despair and grief and heartache my aunt and uncle and cousins went through as they sat with her at night in the hospital. But I did see the frustration. I heard about her dozens of appointments every week. I prayed from afar as she underwent procedures and traveled across the state.

But I also saw her entire school and much of Spokane come behind her. I witnessed hundreds of people pray for her. I watched her learn how to write with her left hand. And I watched her complete three years of high school through all of it.

My cousin graduated. She walked down the aisle and climbed the stairs and wore a robe and sang and smiled. After a long dark night, the sun came out.

Abigail Joy Peterson. You truly are a woman of joy and faith and courage. And, by the grace of God, something truly wonderful has been accomplished in your life. Congratulations. I love you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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