The past 5 to 6 weeks have flown by, although sometimes in slow motion. Is that even possible? In one way I feel as though it was yesterday when I was sitting beside my friend and laughing about things we'd said or done in the past. In another way I feel as though months have gone by without me being present to what was happening around me in other areas of my life.
In the middle of the summer, my friend was diagnosed with advanced stages of pancreatic cancer. It had gone undetected for several years. Tests showed that it had spread to her liver. After conversations with several doctors, she made the decision not to chemotherapy or radiation treatments -- as they were not expected to rid her body of the cancer. We went for about 5-6 weeks celebrating the fact that her "numbers were down". Anyone who has walked this journey of a loved one fighting the dreaded C disease knows all about "numbers being up" and "numbers being down."
She went in for her visit one day to learn that the tumors had increased in size and that all of her numbers were elevated. On that day, she posted to her Facebook page that she would most likely be seeing Jesus sooner than later. Many were shocked by that proclamation from her. She seemed to be handling so well what seemed to be a certain death sentence. One week later, she activated her home hospice treatment & began planning her cremation, memorial service & burial.
As I write this, I'm sitting outside the room where she is resting in a hospital bed now. Her husband sits beside her & prays earnestly for her to be healed... here. I'm a believer in miracles (big & little). But, it seems to me that her healing might come through getting a new body in heaven. I sit alone in a quiet living room waiting for my friend's husband to come out to grab another glass of water or a small container of applesauce or some Coca Cola flavored cracked ice to put in my friend's mouth. She seemed unable to suck water from a straw earlier when I was sitting beside her. From what I've observed, she's really had nothing substantial to eat or drink for almost a week. He hurries out for another "something" and then returns to the room, closing the door between us.
It's hard to see a loved one's body decline. It's hard to see them having to be taken care of physically in ways that you know would be embarrassing to them if seen by others. It's hard to see them struggle to move their arms to another position or to move their head from side to side or give a small smile. This is the part of death that I hate... the dying.
This brings back memories of the last days with my father. My mother seemed to be convinced that he would die if he didn't eat enough. I was convinced that no matter how much or how little he ate, he would be with us as long as God intended. I didn't want him to leave us. But, I didn't want to will him to be here for our sake. My mother gave him one of the best gifts she could in those last days, in my opinion. She gave him the permission to leave this earth. It must have nearly killed her to say those words. But, I feel as though my dad needed to hear them from her.
Tomorrow is a Saturday. My house hasn't been cleaned in weeks now. Aside from a few crockpot meals, I haven't sat down to dinner with my family for a homemade meal in weeks. I've come home drained of energy & fallen into bed after making myself eat something. It has been a joy to be a support to my friend who feels more like a sister. I know that I have helped her in some way by my presence. It's just hard to see her suffering. I wouldn't change a thing as far as my time is concerned. I'm here with her, albeit in another room with a closed door between us. And, I am praying for her. Praying for her husband. Asking God to bring peace into the turmoil.
I have not lost hope... my friend will be healed.
I wrote this post on 12-5-14... my friend was HEALED on 12-6-14... she is now with the Lord & countless loved ones in Heaven. Her healing was not here on earth... but, it was a HEALING of all pain, sorrow, illness and human frailty.
Just a glimpse of me...
- Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!