Published in The Daily Beacon, Monday, March 5, 2007
For many years, I received this cheerful greeting every time I entered the home of my sister, Sandy Adcox. Although she was nearly eighteen years my senior, the love and closeness we shared only grew stronger as we got older. Sadly, she is no longer with us. As we approach the anniversary of her passing, I would like to use this post to both share some memories and to somehow offer a small tribute to this wonderful lady.
We often read books and hear stories about great people of the past and the great legacies they left behind. In this case, however, I watched a legacy being built every day right before my eyes, a legacy of kindness, unselfishness and laughter. I could always count on Sandy being a constant in my life, through good times and bad. She was a true role model to me in every sense of the word.
Nowhere was Sandy’s heart seen more vividly than in her work with children and teens. This was especially clear in her devotion to her own children, Jennifer, Stephanie and Jordan, as well as the countless others she touched as a school teacher and guidance counselor. Her soothing voice, gentle demeanor and bubbly sense of humor led children to bond with her instantly. As the nursery coordinator at her church, “Ms. Sandy” was well known for her ability to take a crying baby in her arms and watch it calm down almost immediately.
In December, 2000, we received the devastating news that Sandy had been diagnosed with leukemia. The next four years, we saw her fight like a lion. Although she was in and out of remission several times, eventually the battle ended. Sandy died on April 13, 2004.
The amazing thing was that, even when she knew the end was near, she was more concerned about the rest of us than she was about herself. She was always there to reassure us. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our everyday lives that we “don’t have time” for others. However, Sandy always had time for anyone who needed her. That still amazes me. Anytime I went to her needing a kind word or some “big sisterly” advice, she always seemed to know just what to say. Sandy touched countless lives in so many ways. When my time here is over, I hope I have impacted as many people as she has.
I’ll never forget the last day I spent with Sandy. It was the day she left for Houston in a last-ditch effort to save her life. To look at Sandy was heartbreaking. The leukemia, combined with the chemotherapy, had ravaged her body. She had lost her hair and was unable to get around without the aid of a walker. Since her immune system was very weak, I tried to avoid standing too close so that I wouldn’t pass any germs to her. But suddenly, as I walked by her chair, she threw her arms around me and gave me a huge hug, saying, “Brother, I love you very much.” Although it was a very sad day, that is still a memory I’ll cherish forever.
Sandy’s memorial service, which drew over five hundred people, was billed as a “Celebration of Life” rather than a funeral. She had emphatically stated that she did not want it to be a sad occasion and had requested that no one in attendance wear black. Of course, we could not honor the former request, but through all the tears, sharing and memories, I believe she was still looking down with a smile.
It is easy for me to be sad now that she is gone, but although it seems to have passed so quickly, I am so thankful that God allowed this wonderful lady to be a part of my life. The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon summed it up well: “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”
Heaven only knows how many hearts carry Sandy’s inscription today.