Butler County Times Gazette
  • Belinda Larsen: Leaving her gift of optimism

  • Community saddened by loss of Judy Miller
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  • Like so many in our community, I was saddened to hear of Judy Miller’s passing this week.
    Judy was photographed by the Gazette many times for many reasons. She actively supported Augusta and paid it forward in so many ways. It would take considerable space to list the groups and causes she supported in the town she loved.
    This week looking through those photos, I noticed in all of them - even in those taken when she wasn’t feeling well - her optimistic smile was ever present.
    Many of us were impressed and inspired by how she handled herself dealing with cancer.
    This is not an obituary for Judy. Many people knew her far better than I. But I did admire her optimistic spirit.
    She told me a few months ago that she wasn’t finished and had years of living left.
    I was convinced. After all, who was going to argue with Judy? She was a survivor.
    The past couple of days, I’ve heard people say, “She lost her battle with cancer.”
    Not true. She died from cancer.
    It’s the use of the word “lose” that bothers me. For those who ultimately die from cancer, the idea that they have lost a battle implies that if they had just done something else - something differently, then maybe they might have won.
    No, she did not lose. We should not so easily give cancer that power over us.
    Each year Judy had an active leadership role in Relay For Life and each year she made that first lap with the rest of the survivors. She was a constant for all of us.
    She lived graciously and courageously until the very end and in many ways, inspiring and teaching us. She would want us to continue to celebrate those who have gone through the fight and are still living
    And I’m certain that she would want the rest of us to remember her as a brave fighter, not a loser.
     
     
    Belinda Larsen is the Gazette Editor and can be reached at blarsen@augustagazette.com, or at Twitter @belinda_larsen.
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