The Meaning of An Owl

It was a few years ago, we had just finished a training walk for the Susan G Komen 3 Day, the walk leader passed out stickers of owls (yes, owls). She asked us to keep one of the walkers in mind. The walker she referred to I did not know but I learned she was battling breast cancer (again), and she liked owls.

As I left that training walk I stuck the owl sticker on one of the air vents in my Jeep. Every now and then I would look at it and think of this person I didn’t know, fighting a fight I had been fortunate not to fight (at this point in my life).IMG_2371

The summer went on and I still didn’t meet this mystery person but I continued to look at the owl sticker in my car and think about this person out there in the world fighting breast cancer.

When the 3 Day rolled around we all loaded in the bus and headed toward opening ceremonies. Through all the chatter in the bus I overheard something that made me realize the “owl woman” was on the bus. I asked the woman I suspected and learned I was right. I told her about the owl sticker and that I still had it in my car. We talked, we laughed, we hit it off.

Walking 60 miles in 3 days is a huge challenge. I learned that JoAnne had just finished chemo and would be walking the 60 miles. I was impressed by her determination and courage.

3 day with Joanne

(L to R) Anastasia, me and Stan, JoAnne 

She liked the sock monkey (Stan) I was carrying during the walk.

After the walk we played Words With Friends, we chatted occasionally on Facebook and at Christmas she sent me a new sock monkey…but we didn’t have time to really become friends. What I knew of Joanne I admired. She fought to the end, she had strength and a beautiful inner spirit that I was only able to get a short glimpse at.

I believe everyone comes into our lives for a reason and I believe Joanne came into my life to remind me to fight gracefully, take care of the vessel I have been given and to laugh.

I still have the owl sticker in my car and Stan (my monkey) and Cassidy (the monkey JoAnne gave me) ride along in my jeep everyday.IMG_2366

Though it makes me sad that I did not get an opportunity to know her better, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to know the lady behind the owl.

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