More than One Definition of Winning

4 08 2010

Two days ago, a lovely woman with whom I had shared nods and hellos in the corridors over the last few weeks took her husband home from the hospital.  I saw them at the elevator bank, holding hands and smiling.  She said triumphantly, “We’re going home!  When do you get to go?”  Then she realized that not everyone in the cancer unit gets such a happy outcome. 

I did not want to diminish her happiness; I wanted to share in it. “We’re going home soon, too,” I said quickly. “It’s okay; I am thrilled to see that you’ve won your fight.” 

She replied gently, “There is more than one definition of winning.”  They both smiled at each other and back at me as they disappeared into the elevator and on with their lives.

There is more than one definition of winning.

We started this journey thinking winning the battle against cancer for my beautiful Jessica meant she would be cured.  Then winning turned to long-term remission.  Now, winning is not about ridding her body of the cancer.    

Since she can not beat the cancer by fighting, she will just have to outrun it.  I am sure Jessica can see the finish line.  I know she will win – and she will do her happy victory dance when she does, even though I will not be able to see it. 

Jessica, you are a winner. I am so proud of you.  You’ve won the hearts of everyone who’s ever met you. Go, Jessie! Win this race on your terms, in your time, my sweet baby girl. I promise I will celebrate with you.




11 responses

4 08 2010

Paula, you are absolutely a giver. I def have a heart that has been won by Jess Lewis. I wonder how many people you guys have helped that you don’t even know about. Thank you for sharing.

4 08 2010
Margie Fultz

My heart is full of love for you both. Jessie is a champion in everyone’s heart. She already has won. Love you.

4 08 2010
Jackie Nowak

Paula, You know that you and Jessie are surrounded by the love coming from all of us. Just close your eyes and you will feel all of our hearts reaching you.
Love, Jackie

4 08 2010

You are both winners, and we are winners for knowing you.

4 08 2010
Linda Hoffer

What beautiful words. As I head out tonight to train in the heat I will take Jessica with me to give me guidance and inspiration. With her in my heart I will stay cool and focused on crossing the finish line. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with me. Linda

4 08 2010

Well put dear, well put….

6 08 2010
Mary Lee Lomonico


You are an inspiration to us all and we are better for knowing you. I regret that I never met your beautiful daughter, but Jess will always have a place in my heart.

Mary Lee

6 08 2010

Thank you to all of you for your support and your kind words. Jessie is resting quietly, now, which is the best we can ask.

8 08 2010

Jessie won my heart 12 yrs ago and has won the heart of so many teachers and teacher assistants over the years. We all learned so much from her – she taught us to appreciate & enjoy every moment – to take time to smell the flowers and to dance to the music. Her beautiful smile will be with me forever. I admire your strength my friend.

10 08 2010
John Kerecz

I am so sorry Paula ……

12 08 2010
Chad Shenuski

Paula, your strength is inspirational. I know you will find peace and feel the love of all of earth’s subtle beauties once again soon. You and your family are in our prayers.

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