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What does it mean to have joy within the journey that we women go through when living with chronic illness or caring for someone who has a chronic illness? This journey is a roller coaster of emotions except the ride never ends. Does this mean we must walk around sullen and sad all the time? Absolutely not! We can have joy and happiness and we can celebrate the life given to us. We can do all the same things that any other woman can do, it just may look a little different at times.

 

My name is Barbara and I am a co-founder of Her True Beauty and although I don’t have a chronic illness, I cared for my mom who suffered and eventually passed from stage 4 lung cancer. She was a beautiful woman and a faithful fighter. My mom was the epitome of courage and walked it out through the year in a half she battled cancer that raged through her body. If you have never watched someone fight cancer you are blessed. Cancer is poison running through your body eating it from the inside out and how do you fight it? You fight it with stronger poison that makes you sicker than the cancer is making you, with the hope that the cancer will die out and the battle will be won. In my mom’s case, the battle was lost, but she didn’t lose. She faced it head on and was a winner even in her death.  

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Where did that leave me? Yes, my mom was a fighter and yes she lived out her best life that last year in half, but she left behind daughters, grandchildren, friends, and other family members. We were all sad and missing her. I felt lost for so long. I felt as though my best friend left me and when I needed her the most she wasn’t and still isn’t here. Who do I call late at night when I need an ear? Who do I lay my head in their lap and cry when there is nothing else I can do? Mom was that person for me and she left me. Chronic illness affects so many women and the ones that love them. I was one of the ones who loved my mom. I cared for her until her last dying breath, literally. I laid my head on her chest, in the middle of our family room, and felt her take her last breath. Then she was no longer living life here with me. For a while, those lights went out for me. I lost a little bit of myself slowly each day. The only hope and peace I had was in the Lord and at times that didn’t seem to be enough. I deeply wanted my mom to be here with me. I wanted her to laugh, cry, and share moments with me. Healing was hard and still is. Each day though, it gets a little easier. 

As I am moving forward and the grief is getting easier I knew and know that I want to do something that will always allow me to honor my mom’s memory. I want to honor my mom’s death in a way that she would smile down upon. My mom was always a caring woman, who wanted to help other people. She would give her last dollar if it meant someone else didn’t have to suffer. She sacrificed so much for us and now I want to honor the core of who she was. I want to help women living daily with their illness in a way that brings a little light to their sometimes gloomy days.

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Her True Beauty was born from this desire to honor my mother, honor the Lord, and help women. Women daily live with an illness that takes over their bodies and Her True Beauty’s monthly subscription box is here to bring a little bit of joy to their lives every month. There were many times where mom was just sad. She was living her fullest life but there were days where her new normal took a toll on her. I thought how amazing it would have been for her to open her door to a box of joy where she could have a few minutes that she didn’t have to think about her sickness. A few minutes where she wasn’t lost in her illness. I would have loved to give her this reprieve once a month. Lots of women are homebound or spend way more days inside due to how they feel. If you can’t go out as much as you would like, then let us bring something that can give you a break from your sickness. Let us give you a little Beauty Within the Mess of your chronic illness. 

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