Tag: pancreatic cancer

A Healed Heart: A Father’s Day Tribute


By Deanna Cauthen

I lost my father to pancreatic cancer when I was 13 years old.  It was all very sudden–him getting very sick, the excruciating pain, my mother taking him to the hospital in the middle of the night, and then six weeks later, dying. Just like that, he was gone.

If you’ve never experienced it, the death of a parent, at such an early age, is one of the hardest things a child can endure.  It leaves a hole in your heart–an empty, lonely feeling like nothing else. At least, that was the way it felt for me.  Add to that the pain of not understanding why God would allow such a thing to happen and you can imagine the despair.

That was 37 years ago. Now, fast forward several years to January 13, 2001, the day I married Andrew Louis Cauthen, III. Like most people who enter into a marriage, I was in love and believed that Andrew would probably be a good husband and father, but in actuality, who really knows about these things. Only time would tell….

Well, time has told. We’ve been married, now, for almost 15 years and what did God do? He gave me a man with a great, big daddy’s heart.  I find it rather perplexing, but altogether wonderful that a God who would allow my father to exit my life at such an early age would, in turn, give me a husband who would play a part in healing the wounds of the past. But, then who can understand God?

I remember how my heart melted the first time I saw him look at Adrianna shortly after she was born.  I could clearly see that he was awestruck and he’s been that way ever since. Even at 13 years of age, he faithfully tucks her into bed at night and it blesses my heart as I watch him from the doorway of her bedroom.

But his love isn’t limited by biology. It’s been extended over and over again to his three stepchildren, the non-biological grandchildren that he’s helping to raise and to the hundreds of youths he’s mentored during his 23+ years of youth ministry. The devotion he has for them and the unwavering commitment to their well being is nothing short of God’s grace in action.

My biological dad has been gone for more than three decades, but the Lord has used the father’s love of my husband to heal my heart again and again. I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who takes the ministry of fatherhood so seriously. God bless you, Andrew Cauthen!


Deanna Cauthen, works as a contributing writer for the Decatur Dispatch and Tucker Times news magazines, publications of Hometown News Inc. and she has also been a staff writer for the Stone Mountain-Lithonia Patch, an online media outlet of AOL.com. As a freelance writer, she has written numerous articles for local and national publications including Christianity Today and Home Education magazines.  She is also the owner/operator of The ProWriter’s Studio, a public relations agency.

What I Learned as I Watched My Friend Die of Brain Cancer

Tracy Mathis I

In light of the recent suicide of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year old woman who was diagnosed with brain cancer, I decided to re-post an article about a friend of mine who, just like Brittany, was diagnosed with brain cancer and died this past May.

In the months leading up to her suicide, Brittany became the face of the right-to-die movement. She and others believed that choosing to end her own life was somehow a noble and dignified cause.  I would like introduce you to another face–the face of Tracy Mathis, a wife, mother and friend who chose to live and give us the privilege of loving her in the pain and suffering of her disease.

I’ll admit it, watching someone die of a terminal illness is a very scary, hard thing.  I have seen it up-close and personal with my father who died of liver cancer, a most beloved aunt who died of pancreatic cancer, and most recently with Tracy.  To see disease ravage the body, mind and spirit of another human being that you love is excruciatingly painful, especially when you know there is nothing you can do make it better. But there is also something transforming in the experience.

Spending time with Tracy, interacting with her and listening to her share her struggles about the disease forced me to get outside of my superficial mode of living. Likewise, holding my aunt’s hand and wiping her brow, sitting with her as she writhed in pain, and listening to her last requests gave me a unique opportunity to learn how to love in a way that I could not have otherwise. I believe that Brittany’s decision to end her life came as a result of living in a very plastic, superficial society; where anything that looks less than perfect is unacceptable. We live in a part of the world where vulnerability and weakness is shunned and where pain and suffering is a disgrace not to be tolerated. Anything short of perfection and beauty has little worth and should be discarded.

As scary and as painful as it was, I’m grateful that my friend had the faith to stay the course and allowed us, her friends and family, to love her in her pain and suffering. She is my hero! Below, is a copy of the original piece that was published in DCHE Dispatch.

Thanks for reading.


10434241_10152517583736255_6973948873103430431_n 10451685_10152517583826255_7156819377333637385_n