Local woman shares story of grieving
by Maddy Houk | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 14, 2010 | 795 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At a glance

• WHAT: Book signing of “The Mustard Seed of Faith: The Journey Through Cancer and Grief,” by Cymberlynn Terpstra.

• WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

• WHERE: Family Bible Center, 5 E. Main St., in Turlock

• ALSO: Pastor Ken Hasekamp of Patterson Christian Fellowship is scheduled to provide information about the GriefShare program during the event.

Patterson resident Cymberlynn Terpstra began a two-year journey of grief in June 2006, when her husband, Don, was diagnosed with cancer.

Don woke up that Apricot Fiesta morning so sick, he had to see a doctor immediately. He died in May 2008, and Cymberlynn began chronicling her story.

In May 2009, Terpstra finished her book, “The Mustard Seed of Faith: The Journey Through Cancer and Grief,” which was then published by Holy Fire Press of South Carolina. She will have a book signing Saturday, Jan. 16, in Turlock.

“This book was the biggest healing I could ever ask for,” Terpstra said. “It just helped me so much.”

In the 196-page book, Terpstra takes readers on a journey through her everyday struggles to understand cancer, treatments, doctor visits and her husband’s sickness.

“I wrote this book to be an encouragement to all that read it,” Terpstra said. “I opened myself up and included my personal journal entries and e-mails that were written during this time. My prayer is that everyone who reads this will have their faith strengthened and to know that God is walking with you, no matter what the journey.”

The book details the couple learning Don might have cancer, doctor appointments, the biopsy that revealed he had squamous -cell carcinoma — a rare rectal-colon cancer — and, ultimately, his death.

Don went through three rounds of radiation and five different chemotherapy treatments over two years before dying May 23, 2008, at the age of 46.

Terpstra, then a 36-year-old widow, began the book in November of that year and finished it the following spring, on the one-year anniversary of Don’s death.

With the help of friends and family, including her grandmother, Marian Pierce, Terpstra opened her heart and her emotions.

“I lived each day that is written in this book,” Pierce said. “As I read it, it showed me the faith that we had and how far God has brought us as a family.”

Included in the book are thoughts from Patterson friends and business owners; Terpstra’s pastors, Charles and La Wanda Ware of New Birth Christian Center in Stockton; and friends, such as minister Debbie Rondaris.

“I talked to Don and Cym every day during this difficult time, but still could not put this book down,” Rondaris said. “It reminded me of all they went through and the faith that carried them through, and still carries Cym to this day.”

The book also details Terpstra’s walk through the seven stages of grief — shock and denial; pain and guilt; anger and bargaining; depression, reflection and loneliness; upward turn; reconstruction; and working through acceptance and hope.

Terpstra said her book can be an aid to anyone going through any type of grieving.

“The biggest thing that’s going to be my testimony is grief hits in so many areas,” she said. “We have people right now that are losing jobs, losing homes, going through divorces, going through loss in so many areas of their lives — and when people go through those losses, they experience the seven stages of grief.”

• Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187 or maddy@pattersonirrigator.com.
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