The Family We Choose

07_07_09.jpgThey (whoever they are) say that friends are the family we choose....

This opening was written by our Tuesday girl, Ms. Michelle Dippel...then a new job, a recent move, her little guy's ninth birthday, and a holiday weekend happened...and she could use a little help from a friend, so you'll hear from me (the other Michele) once again this week! I promise you will get a new writer tomorrow ;)

The ladies you see in the photo above all knew and loved Michelle and Daniel Dippel as individuals, and as a couple. They celebrated their marriage, the birth of their son, the purchase of their first home, the comings and goings of the roaming Dippel family, and on a day they will never forget, they shared the terrifying news that Daniel had cancer. From that day forward they also illustrated why friends can indeed become the family we choose.

Together this band of women hoped for the best when they first heard Daniel's diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. When the road to the cure included surgery, they stood by phones, said prayers, and held Michelle up with their positive energy as they waited for news of the surgical outcome. After Daniel's surgery left him without the ability to speak, they found new ways to communicate with him, and held onto the hope that things would begin to look up for the Dippel family. And when the worst outcome they could imagine became Michelle's reality, they moved towards her instead of away from her encircling her in their constant love. It wasn't always easy, tears were common, and learning how to support the new Michelle required some adjustments...but these ladies were willing to make them.

Perhaps willing is actually the best word to describe this band of women. Willing to listen, no matter how difficult the subject matter. Willing to cry, or to laugh, depending on the day. Willing to say they didn't understand, but they would try. Willing to hug tight or let go as they each adapted to the challenges life threw at their friendship. Willing to grieve with ,and for, Michelle knowing they couldn't fix anything for her. Willing to allow Michelle to become a new version of herself without the fear of losing her lifelong friends.

Being the friend of a widow is not for the faint of heart. Don't let their big smiles fool you...these ladies are warriors.


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