© photo credit: Melissa Antill
Angie Crocker was one of my safety people.
You know, the kind of friend you feel relieved to see when entering a room full of people you don't know or aren't feeling up to being charming around? Angie always took me just as I was and shared my sense of humor. She was a good one.
Two months ago, Angie went to the doctor with severe back pain and a bladder infection. Turned out, she had stage 4 cancer in her kidney, and apparently was one of only four cases (in the world!) of this kind. They did surgery the following week, removed the infected kidney, only to find her lymph nodes were infected, too. The cancer spread faster than the chemo could keep up. I was privileged to visit with her several times in the hospital and at her parents' house during those eight weeks. Her mom was always by her side, and they both remained strong in their faith and hope for healing. Angie talked about wanting to use her experience to minister to others, and boy did she. Every nurse and doctor knew about her trust in God, even when she couldn't keep her eyes open (due to pain).
At her funeral this morning, three of her best friends shared stories about Angie. They were all consistent with the Angie I got to know, too: kind-hearted, keen eye for decorating a room and dressing a table, generous spirit, loyal friend, devoted mother, and "a bit of a stinker." One of the friends, Annie, shared that during one of her hospital visits she asked Angie what she should do with her life, "because I don't think this Panera gig is really working for me." Without missing a beat, Angie opened her eyes and said, "You need to become a donkey wrangler, Annie."
When I was in the ER with our roommate, waiting out her seizures at two in the morning, Angie would text me from her hospital room asking how we were doing. She did the same when other friends from our church were in the hospital. She even had her mom push her in a wheelchair to make visitations.
She was the real deal.
It was standing room only today. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. To quote our senior pastor who officiated the service, "Just as you squeeze oranges and orange juice comes out, when you're squeezed in life, your essence comes out. When you're tested, you're going to see what you're made of. When Angie was squeezed, we saw love and a strength of faith." "God will either take the sickness from the person or take the person from the sickness, but there will be healing." "When you're tested, don't wilt. Don't evade. Have courage. The only way out is through."
"Angie passed the test."
Rest in peace, sweet friend.