“Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go …”

Today, we celebrate the life of Elizabeth (“Libby”) Remick on the fourth anniversary of her passing — July 28, 2008.

Elizabeth Kay Remick (1982 – 2008)

Today, we celebrate the life of Elizabeth (“Libby”) Remick on the fourth anniversary of her passing — July 28, 2008. Libby was only 26 years old when she died from ovarian clear cell cancer. The Libby’s H*O*P*E* website is dedicated to Elizabeth’s memory.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people stay for awhile,
and move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding,
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never, ever the same.
— Flavia Weedn

As many of you know, we consider Libby the driving force and inspiration behind our ongoing support work for ovarian cancer survivors and their families. Libby’s spirit inspires us on a daily basis. We believe that Libby’s eternal love and support of ovarian cancer survivors and their families are limitless; this is especially true when the situation is labeled “hopeless.” We were reminded of this fact earlier this week after coming across a touching story dating back to 1940, which epitomizes the close and unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Great Britain — quite apropos given the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London yesterday.

Between September 7, 1940 and May 16, 1941, the German Luftwaffe (air force) engaged in a bombing campaign designed to demoralize the British people into surrender while destroying the country’s economic war production. At one point, London (and 16 other British cities) were bombed on 57 consecutive nights during the German air campaign. As a result of the German raids, more than 40,000 civilians (almost half of them in London) were killed, and more than one million London homes were destroyed or damaged.  The history books simply refer to this desperate and seemingly hopeless time period in England as “the Blitz” (derived from the German word “blitzkrieg,” meaning “lighting war”).

During this extremely difficult time period, Winston Churchill, England’s Prime Minister, knew that he had to rouse the British people to resist Adolf Hitler’s armed forces. Churchill also understood that England alone could not defeat Germany, and he recognized early on that the assistance of the U.S. would be necessary for ultimate victory. Churchill eagerly sought out U.S. assistance, and ultimately, American participation in support of England’s war effort.

The actions taken by Churchill to encourage U.S. assistance included welcoming the emissaries that were sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; foremost among them was Harry L. Hopkins. As Roosevelt’s closest wartime aide, Harry Hopkins played a crucial role in nurturing the Anglo-American partnership. At the direction of President Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins journeyed to England in the midst of the Blitz, and he later convinced the U.S. President that Churchill and the British people would fight on to the end, and therefore, must be supported at any cost.  During Hopkins’ visit, he spoke directly to Churchill about America’s strong support of England, regardless of the circumstances.

In January 1941, at the end of his visit with Churchill, Harry Hopkins summarized American support, as part of a dinner toast, by referencing the unbreakable bond of loyalty cited in the Book of Ruth 1:16, which begins with Ruth’s plea to a close family relative during difficult times: ” Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee …”  In his toast, and with a deeply emotional tone, Hopkins simply recited the remainder of that biblical verse:

“‘Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God’ — even to the end.”

According to those present at the dinner, Hopkins’ vow of American loyalty reduced the English Prime Minister to tears. Winston Churchill knew exactly what Hopkins meant, and he later stated: “Harry Hopkins’ impromptu sermon seemed like a rope thrown to a drowning man.” In the end, Hitler’s Blitz did not achieve its intended goal of demoralizing the British people into surrender; rather, it caused them to unite among themselves and forge an unbreakable bond with the U.S., which led to ultimate victory.

We know that if Libby were alive today, she would extend the same loyalty, perseverance, hope, and support towards ovarian cancer survivors and their families, similar to that cited in The Book of Ruth 1:16.  Libby’s H*O*P*E* represents the physical manifestation of Libby’s spirit, including the steadfast support of all ovarian cancer survivors and their families during difficult times.

Although Libby is no longer physically present among us, a traditional Native American Prayer reminds us that she remains forever present in our lives:

I give you this one thought to keep –
I am with you still – I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush,
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone –
I am with you still in each new dawn.

— Traditional Native American Prayer

Libby, we love you, miss you, and will never forget you. We do not think of you “as gone,” and we know that you are with us “in each new dawn.” Thank you for your life and eternal inspiration.


Related Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ Postings:

  • The Mirror: “What is the Meaning of Life?”, by Paul Cacciatore, July 28, 2011.
  • “Smile, Open Your Eyes, Love and Go On.,” by Paul Cacciatore, July 28, 2010.
  • Vox Populi*: Libby, We’ll Be Missing You, by Paul Cacciatore, July 28, 2009.
  • A Requiem Hallelujah, But Don’t Let There Be a Hole in the World Tomorrow, by Paul Cacciatore, July 28, 2008.