Dresses from Shabby Apple

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday: And She Changed Me

Happy Thursday y'all!

Today I want to tell you about a person that I met for one hour.
And completely changed the way I think.
Even still today.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a massage therapist.
A year and a half ago I was working doing massage in a chiropractors office.
And that's when I got the call.

The chiropractor I worked for had a client that came in and knew someone who was in their last weeks of fighting terminal cancer.
One thing she had always wanted to do was get a massage.
I agreed.

I wasn't given much information.
Just a name.
A phone number.
An address.

I walked in the house and was eagerly greeted by family who helped me get set up.
When I went into the room to do the massage, I met Jenni.
A girl who was frail and looked about 10 years old.

I was devastated.
I had assumed in my lack of knowledge about my client that she was older.

I began the massage.
Really it wasn't that.
It was very gentle, and I tried to be as soothing as I could.
I didn't want to cause her any pain.

Her breaths were ragged.
We tried to make simple conversation.
Dancing around the obvious.

As I continued the massage, I started to look around her room.
She had pictures up everywhere.
Pictures with family.
Pictures with friends.
Pictures with her boyfriend.
And that's when I realized:
Jenni is my age.

And suddenly I felt fortunate.
And suddenly I was grateful.
And suddenly I was thankful.
And suddenly I was sad.

Why her?
When it could have just as easily been me.

And the loads of homework I had waiting for me that night didn't matter anymore.
Because I was blessed to be going to school and getting my education.
And the wedding planning stress faded away.
Because I was lucky enough to have found the man of my dreams and blessed to be getting married.
And the million other little things that I loved to complain about didn't matter anymore.
Because I was healthy.
And I was alive.

After the massage had ended I placed my hand on Jenni's back
and told her that it had been my pleasure to meet her and to do that for her.

And then I left.

Not even a week later Jenni passed away.
And I was heartbroken.

Soon after that I spoke with the client that knew her and that had requested a massage therapist to be sent.
He said that he had spent a lot of time talking and praying with Jenni throughout her struggle with cancer.
She had hoped that if nothing else, she could make a difference and touch as many people's lives as she could.

I sincerely believe that out of all the therapist that could have been that day, God wanted me to go.
Because He knew that I needed to experience the lessons that Jenni could teach me that day.

Because she made a difference in my life.

And she changed me.

And I'm thankful.

What are you thankful for today?


  1. Wow, Rebecca. That left me teary and speechless. What a great thing you did for her. It is such a sad sad story and I'm so sorry it didn't have a better ending. But what an honor to go help someone like that -to give her something she always wanted. I don't see how anyone could have walked out of there unchanged. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story. Even my brother got and beat cancer at such a young age and when I think of people with cancer I still tend to think of older people myself. I guy my age with two kids works for a company we do payroll for and just found out he has cancer. It's a real eye opener. :(

  2. Such a touching post! It always breaks my heart when I hear about or witness situations like this - it's so sad to hear about someone facing a terminal illness. It's especially difficult thinking about someone your own age and a reminder of how fragile life is. So sorry about your client!

  3. Wow. This post was so sweet. I almost started crying here at work. What an amazing encounter and gift.

  4. Such a beautiful post! After reading yours, I went back to edit mine because of how powerful your post was. It's amazing to have something so small change your life for the better :) I'm thankful for you sharing this!

  5. What a wonderful post. Sometimes a person is put in our lives for just moments, but they create the most long lasting changes. So glad it was you that was sent that day.

  6. That is just beautiful! And I hate crying! It is wonderful when we can come across those moments in our life and see the Hand of God working to teach us a lesson that we need to learn. It's His way of saying, I love you and am here for you and teaching you the things you need to know. So wonderful. Thank you for sharing that!

  7. What a beautiful story. So glad you got to experience her.

  8. What a beautiful story. Something so serious and devastating like that can really help you put things into perspective. Cancer truly skips over no one. Such a shame that she didn't get to live out her full life. Thanks for sharing such a great story though. It's a good reminder that we never know who we are influencing. I doubt Jenni knew then what an impact she was making on you.

  9. That is an incredible story! Thanks so much for sharing such a personal reminder of all the reasons to be thankful for more time in this life.

  10. This is definitely an experience for which you should be thankful! I came over from Amanda's blog and cannot wait to read more! I'm linking up for the first time today!

  11. That was a beautiful story Rebecca.

    It's too bad that Jenni did not get to live a long life, but it sounds like she lived a full one and made many impacts on people and now even more thanks to you!

  12. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Such a beautiful story--I'm so glad you shared it with us. It really makes you be thankful for what you have in your life!

  14. What a touching story! Thanks for sharing :)

  15. hey rebecca. this is so touching. super glad i found your blog. i'm following. I'd love if you'd check out my celebrity fashion and style blog and see if your interested in following too. Thanks love. xoxo

  16. Wow...this story is so beautiful and inspiring! What an amazing gift you have to be able to do that for her for one of her last requests. It's amazing how such 'small' acts influence us in the most powerful ways. You are amazing Rebecca...thank you for sharing this!!


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