This verse is a verse that I often turn to when someone passes away….especially when the death is unexpected. I turned to it when my friend Renee lost her husband Ben in the Haiti earthquake. I turned to it when people I love have left this earth. I even turned to it when Mom was laying in the intensive care unit my senior year of college.
In the last month, a dear seminary classmate and friend received the word that she has cancer. The cancer is progressing fast. Hospice has been called in and honestly, she is in the final days of her life. So very hard to utter those words or even type them on a screen especially when I spent time with Karen and her BFF Barb this summer at the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. Karen’s daughters have been keeping everyone updated on their Caring Bridge website which is a beautiful reflection of their relationship with their Mom.
This morning’s post brought tears to my eyes as I read about Karen’s daughter Kris taking care of her. Kris mentioned how everything is coming full circle. As a baby, Karen cared for her infant daughter Kris and now Kris is caring for her Mom in the same way; bathing her, feeding her, etc. Life has a funny way of turning full circle on us, doesn’t it…life and death, life and death, life and death!
Kris’s words shed light on what it means to care for those we love; for life to come full circle and to grieve when we need to grieve.As a daughter of someone who daily lives and struggles with a mental illness, at times, I have found myself having a hard time holding onto the “rollercoaster” of life. The rollercoaster doesn’t give us any warnings and let us know when it is going up or coming down! It is very scary to hold on, be vulnerable and share our story with those near and dear to us. Yet sometimes that is exactly what we need to do….hold on for the ride as unpredictable as it can be.
Today I am thankful for Karen and her family; what she has taught them and what she continues to teach them; and for the love she has shown them and continues to show them. I am thankful for Karen’s friendship and all those who have been blessed by her friendship. I am simply thankful for Karen…yet my heart is sad too!
And as I read and listen to Karen’s daughters words, I am reminding myself to continually show love to all those who are near and dear to me; especially my momma. In the midst of Mom’s illness, I will care for Mom in the ways she needs me to care for her even when I am tired and weary. I will sit on her bed when she needs me to and hold her hand. Because she cared for me…there are times when I will need to care for her as well!
The beauty is that God is with us in the midst of life and death especially when it is so very hard for us to cling to the promises God bestows upon each of us. As Karen lives her final weeks, days or hours of life, I can’t help but be reminded of the promise of the Resurrection. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes about Easter from Charles W. Hall “Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete.”-Philippians 2:1-2