I recently found your website after searching for "Finish Strong" charms/bracelets, but I am already quite familiar with your book. I wanted to tell you my story today because I feel that it tells a different side that exemplifies the attitude. I have been an athlete my whole life, throughout high school and college, so I am no stranger to competition. But, these past couple years, I have learned that true adversity is only met when your faith is challenged, especially to the point where you must choose to believe that hope still exists even after it has once been lost...for the toughest battle you will ever face is the one in which you fight against yourself. This Sunday will mark one year since my mom passed away of breast cancer. She had been battling a rare, aggressive form of it for a year and a half. She had given me your book as a gift, but before I ever got to read it, I had written her eulogy speech about what finishing strong meant to me. It is included below:
I’m not going to stand here and tell you how many lives my mom touched, because to do that, you only need to look around. Instead, I wanted to say what my mom meant to me, and what she will always stand for. Among many things, my mom was a teacher. She was always teaching…as an instructor, as an educator, a friend, a companion, and especially as a mother. I’ve learned so many things from my mom that, even if I tried, I couldn’t even come close to naming half of them. As we get older in life, we often take for granted these things. We become more independent, more work-driven, and often forget our values, or at least where they came from. But, most of who I am today is because of my mom. Besides the standard things that most moms nag you about, like cleaning your room, not forgetting to wear your jacket, getting home at a decent hour, driving safe, and everything that involves them worrying about you being protected, my mom also stressed something else…Being a winner in life and never quitting. If you were to walk into my room, you would see walls filled with quotes that speak of inspiration and believing. The last Christmas I spent with my mom, I received 2 presents. One was an envelope filled with cash, but the other a pair of encouraging books, one entitled “Finish Strong.” She always had a way of separating sentimental value from monetary value, always reminding me of what was really important. And although I’ve never been much of a reader, I feel like I already know every word, for sometimes encouragement is best shown through example. One of the last things I said to my mom before she passed was that I was so proud of her for not giving up. I told her that she was my idol and promised her that I would never quit on her. You see because of all the things my mom taught, perhaps the greatest of them was that being a winner isn’t about winning and losing as we typically define it. It is, instead, about courage, rather than outcome. It is about honor. And, my mom never stopped fighting a moment in her life. Her love is stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. So, when you leave here today to go back to your everyday stressful lives, remember that my mom is still here in spirit, still teaching. And, when you continue to recall of my mom’s passing over the years and spread the word to those who were not as privileged to have known her, you may, at times, find yourself telling that my mom lost her battle with cancer. But, I encourage you to carefully reconsider…for my mom didn’t lose her battle. My mom finished strong.
I hope you have enjoyed my story. Thank you for bringing inspiration to my family.