Chris Faddis chronicles his inspirational journey he shared with his wife, Angela, during her courageous battle with cancer that eventually cost her her life 15 months after her shocking diagnosis in his new self-published book, IT IS WELL: Life in the Storm, available for preorder now at www.itiswellbook.com.
Knowing that his wife’s life and death touched so many thousands across the world — the one-year anniversary of her death is tomorrow — Faddis hopes his book will help others inspire, heal, encourage and evangelize through Angela’s witness of faithful trust and surrender. He is convinced that God is using Angela’s suffering, her faithful surrender and their family’s plight to impact many.
Chris has graciously provided CatholicMom.com readers a free-shipping code to preorder the book, scheduled to be released on Oct. 1, 2013: CATHMOM930 (through September 27, 2013).
We also have received an exclusive copy of the beautifully written foreword by well-known Catholic author and speaker Mark Hart. Here it is in its entirety:
“So, what do ya think?” my (then) fiancé asked me.
The front door had not even latched yet. Angela and Chris weren’t two feet out the door en route to their first “date” and already she was asking me my take on the future of their relationship. Having seen the two of them interact for all of sixty seconds I was, of course, quite thoughtful and insightful in my response.
“Honestly? I hope Chris doesn’t screw it up.” I replied.
I said it not because Chris was “that bad” but because Angela was that good. In the few months prior I had gotten to know my wife’s new roommate, Angela, pretty well. I had grown steadily and increasingly impressed by her. She was deep and thoughtful. She was prayerful and holy. She was healthy and invested in eating right (little did I know the friendship would also leave me wishing I’d invested…in organic food suppliers). I remember saying to myself, “Chris is really gonna have to work to hang on to this one.” I said this from personal experience, knowing how a good and virtuous woman can bring the very best out of a man while challenging the core of his very being. Put simply, when a woman keeps the bar high, it forces the man to ascend in character and virtue. Little did I know how prophetic that statement would become – as you’ll no doubt see for yourself in the chapters that follow.
We watched as Chris courted Angela. We witnessed, firsthand, each stage for their dating journey…the late night talks, the later night disagreements, the all-day brunches, their growth in trust and comfort and love for one another. Before long the question really wasn’t a matter of “whether” they’d be married, but of when.
Their wedding day was beautiful, not because of the weather (it was hotter than the surface of the sun, actually) but, rather, because the “whether” was finally realized in time. The two had become one, like countless couples before them and, yet, unlike any prior. Now armed with the grace of the Sacrament, Chris and Angela would begin a new part of their journey – a journey that would require every ounce of that grace which God had now imbued them.
On the surface, their marriage looked like many others. They decorated their first apartment together. They entertained friends and family. We all went out for long dinners and laughed well into the night. They took trips and talked of future plans. In time, they had a baby girl. They moved. Started new jobs. Had another child. They “did” what couples do, never knowing what the future actually held for their family.
As the great Bishop Fulton Sheen once noted, “It takes three to be married.” He said it because he understood something that is quickly and oft forgotten in this modern culture of self-centeredness…to become all it is intended to be by God, marriage takes three: the man, the woman and God.
There’s a reason that God gives us marriage. It isn’t “just” for children, although they are a beautiful fruit of it, to be sure (Psalm 127:3). It isn’t “just” to bless us out of our selfishness, although marriage assuredly invites us to grow in virtue unlike anything or anyone else on earth can do. No, Scripture confirms that marriage is also how God chooses to reveal His great and unconditional love to a world and culture that has grown callous to such an indescribable reality.
Throughout the books of the Bible, there is no other analogy, no other example, no other visual God employs more to express His love for us, than the love of a husband and wife. Quite literally, from Genesis to Revelation, Sacred Scripture is “book-ended” by weddings. Pope Francis reminded us all that our lives are wrapped up “in a love story” – God’s love story – and when the Faddis’ received the news of Angela’s cancer, God invited us all for a front row seat into what love truly requires: sacrifice.
In Angela and Chris during their journey with cancer, we beheld what marriages are supposed to reveal about God. We saw tenderness. We saw hope. We saw fidelity. We saw trust. We saw the kind of love that sits loyally beside a hospital bed, watching a body fade while a soul soars. Angela endured unspeakable discomfort as you’ll read more about, but did so with dignity and grace. Taking on the care of his bride and of their beautiful children, Gianna and Gus, Chris demonstrated the kind of sacrificial love that St. Paul talks about (Eph. 5:25) and that John Paul II heralded as an authentic “gift of self.”
Through the laughter-filled mornings, the tear-filled days and the final hours, God became the constant…the marriage was built not on two but on three, which made all the difference when it had to. As we are reminded in Ecclesiastes, “a three-ply cord is not easily broken” (Eccl. 4:12). God didn’t just “hold them together,” He made them both – and all of us, by extension – stronger through Angela’s illness and battle.
As you read this book you’ll encounter the often harsh reality of the Christian journey. You’ll experience both the splintered, bloody crucifix of Good Friday and the shiny, radiant cross of Easter Sunday. Chris will invite you behind the closed doors into the intimate exchanges and heaven-sent moments that should call us all to stop and survey our own lives. Do we wake up counting our blessings or our problems? That difference makes all the difference, as Angela demonstrated through her constant fidelity to God.
My wife, Melanie, and I stood at Angela’s bedside just minutes after she went home to heaven. The room we’d been in several times before was quite peaceful and serene. It was not a place of death it was a place of life; the bedroom had been transformed into truly holy and sacred ground. During the weeks prior the bedside had become a place of reconciliation, thanksgiving, affirmation and love. In the window sat a hand-drawn picture colored by Gianna, a rainbow of color and display of love that would rival the finest stained glass in the most Gothic cathedral. As the light poured through her artwork and Angela’s soul had been set free I thanked God not only for her, but for Chris, for their children and for the gift of being able to witness such a journey of love until death they did part.
Angela Faddis’ story is a gift to us all, one we can and should learn from – for her time on earth not only taught us how to live but, more importantly, how to die. She gave us all a tutorial on the worth of suffering, the dignity of the body and the purity of the soul. Not merely through her words but through her example Angela challenged us all to trust God more. You’ll see, too, that through it all, Chris, the kids, her family and friends were beside her at each step and our Father in heaven was watching over her, ushering her home to the place He’d prepared for her well in advance.
As you turn this page and the many to follow, recall and trust in the promise of God as penned through the great St. Paul:
“If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him…” – 2 Timothy 2:11-12
She ran the race. She finished victoriously. She has attained what we all desire.
Until we meet again, dear Angela…please pray for us all.
Foreword written by Mark Hart