I feel like you can’t really understand the loss and grieve for someone due to cancer until you’ve personally experienced it. It’s become such a statistic under so many different categories that you almost become numb to its possible, unfortunate effects. Of course when a friend’s loved one or even a Facebook post was related to the passing of a life, I sighed. I ached. I said a prayer. But this- this rocked me.
I’ve only known this couple from church for the past 2 1/2 years but they’ve made such an impact in my life. They’re sweet, kind, generous, compassionate, and love the Lord with all they’ve got. They are the type to light up a room whenever they walked in that you couldn’t help but give them hugs. However, the wife had been battling breast cancer which in the past few months spread to her brain.
She was admitted to this hospital last week and I visited every night from Friday to Sunday. Each time me and my family stepped into that room we tried every possible effort to be a ray of hope in such a heavy atmosphere where a family member sat in the corner with their head down, the daughter and her sons held her cold hands, and the husband hovered over his wife’s ear repeatedly saying, “I love you honey. I love you so much.”
At times it’d be completely silent. Other times there would be a little spark of conversation that ended quickly. And on the last night that room transformed into a worship set as a phone played “Revelation Song,” “I Can Only Imagine,” and “Praise You in this Storm.” It was a really touching and heart-warming sight to see her family surrounding her while basking in Christ’s love and faithfulness. In trials like these we ask the question so many people can’t help but question: “Why does this happen to good people?” And we can’t say. We may never know. But we do know this- that God knows our pain because He experienced it when He saw His own Son breathe His last breath on the cross for us.
On Monday afternoon I returned to St. Joseph’s with lunch for the family only to see an empty room and her still, lifeless body. My mind buzzed. The past few nights became an instant blur while I stood near her bed and grieved. But God comforted and reminded me that her pain and suffering in this world is over. She is now sitting next to her Savior smiling down worry-free.
That weekend and following Monday taught me so many life lessons and I encountered Jesus in a way like none other before. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to know a person that put others before herself as she did and was at peace and spread joy throughout her battle. I will never forget the times she allowed me to come over at night to use her sewing and edger machine with the sweetest conversations. When we couldn’t figure out a specific function she’d call me the next day with the solution because she called Jo-Ann’s for help just minutes prior. The time she came over to help me with my Michigan Fashion Week collection to help pattern, trace, and cut for three hours. When she gave me a fashion-themed planner from Goodwill because it reminded her of me. Or when she’d come over for LifeGroup with the most delicious desserts my brother and I couldn’t resist. Goodness, we’ll miss you Mrs. Sue. But the love and light you have shown to others here will continue to shine through your family, your husband, and even me. We love you. I can’t wait to sew an endless supply of dresses with you again.
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
– C.S. Lewis