Strength Doesn't Always Mean Winning
I woke up Wednesday morning at 4:30 am in an Indianapolis hotel with my mom and brother. It was a cold and snowy morning, so it was indeed a battle to pull away from the warm bed. On this morning my mom had to check-in for her four-hour surgical procedure at the hospital next door.
My mother is one of the strongest women I have ever met. Over the last two years, she has suffered through a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Narcolepsy, the divorce of a ten-year marriage from adultery, and White Matter Brain Disease. Two weeks ago we learned my mother has a large tumor on her spine, and unfortunately, it is multiplying. From a previous scan that the tumor was missed on, the specialist believes the likelihood of it being cancer is substantial.
As I waited in the lobby during my mom's procedure yesterday, I was scared. My mother is strong; she has been fighting so hard recently with her health problems, but I worried she would get tired of fighting. The surgeon came out after four hours and explained they removed as much of the tumor that they could - but we will have to wait a week to know what kind of tumor my mom will be fighting.
In all of the experiences, life brings I try to take a step back and find the lesson to be learned. After talking to the surgeon, although I was in a room surrounded by people, I felt in solitude. I sat in the waiting room chair and asked myself 'What lesson do I need to learn here?'
By the time I made it home, I believed I had found my answer. It should be no secret to you now that I struggle a lot with investigating and researching cases for my podcast. To learn about how someone brutally ended another person's life is something challenging to explain. I often tell people to steer away from reading autopsy reports, for example, because it reads in a very dehumanizing manner (rightfully so).
Yesterday, I learned that strength doesn't mean winning - it means having the willpower to keep on keeping on. I saw this with my mom continuing to find the strength to keep on keeping on no matter the circumstances. I have witnessed this theme with many people I have worked on the podcast with over the years. From Risa Smith's strength to ensure Nevaeh Buchanan isn't forgotten, to Phyllis Cook's strength to continue to pursue Justice from the Dixie Mafia for her brother and father's murders. Having strength means asking 'what is the next step?' and never giving up regardless of the circumstances.
Over the next few days, we are wrapping up the final podcast episode of Tanner Barton's mysterious death. For the several future episodes, I will introduce you to a bizarre series of murders that have many things in common. The likelihood we are looking at a serial killer is high, and I think you will question why you have never heard of the case before - mainly because it spans several states. Something that these cases also have in common is the victims have no one who can fight for their Justice. Up until now, I have worked cases with families that display strength by never halting their search for Justice.
Often cold cases remain in the public's eye because of the strength of their family. For this series, it will be my team that will take up this responsibility to bring these cases out of the shadows. Yesterday I prayed for my mom to have strength, and today I pray my team has strength. It is because of lessons like yesterday's that I have faith that strength can be discovered in all aspects of our lives. When I find myself doubting this I will think back to these experiences and be reminded that strength is not dependent on winning - it is the ability to keep on keeping on.
Thank you for reading,