Coping with the Loss of a Loved One
Written by: Paul Wipf on Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
Posted with permission, Written by Micheal Wollman. Allan Sask. CA.
I used to think cancer was a bad word, but I don’t think so anymore. My mother inlaw was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in the second week in February 2014. From her diagnosis to her death was 10 weeks. In those 10 weeks I changed my mind. Too fast, too sudden, we say. But if the day for us to die is appointed as scripture says in Hebrews 9:27, And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, maybe cancer isn’t as bad a word as we think. Let me explain.
I was at the side of my uncle when he suddenly died of a heart attack. He had no time to see a doctor, he didn’t even have time to say goodbye. With my mother in law we had 10 weeks to say goodbye. 10 weeks to let go instead of in a heartbeat. The doctor gave her 6 months to a year to live. He said there was no treatment that would help, and the best we could do for her was to make her comfortable. Her only response was “How will I stand before my mighty God?”
She came home from the hospital and set about to make her house in order. She told her family what she expected of them and how important it was to live a life that pleased God. Her daughters took turns coming and caring for her. The first few weeks they tried different remedies that seemed to come from everywhere. But she wasn’t interested in alternative medicine. She tried a few remedies to appease them, but her ailing stomach didn’t allow her to drink the various herbal teas or concoctions like organic lemon juice with baking soda that was supposed to be 100X more powerful than Chemo. It was all for naught as her health kept deteriorating rapidly. I was shocked at her decline every time I came to visit. Sure, she put on a brave face but that disappeared quickly when nobody was looking. It was a time of heartache for her children as they struggled to grasp this new reality. Late one night one of her sons, watching as she pulled herself out of her chair and weakly made her way to bed, said “How many times can one’s heart break?” As she got weaker and weaker she pled with her daughters “Please let me go”. But it’s hard to let go of a parent, especially when one had already been let go 10 years prior. One morning she didn’t come out of bed, something happened overnight that made her too weak to to do anything anymore. She asked for her family. My wife and I came the same afternoon. We were shocked at her condition. Her daughters decided right there they would stay till the end. The homecare nurse came out and wanted to take her to palliative care but her girls would have none of that. They became experts at putting on the pain patches, complementing those with pills that they ground up so she could take them. 4 days later she passed away at 5 AM.
Reflecting back on those 10 weeks leading up to the day God had appointed for that grand lady to die, it seems there was an aura around her that was almost sacred. She never complained or accused. It was a time of bonding and sharing for us, of crying and laughing, of hurting and healing, of praying and praising, of hanging on and letting go. We were humbled before God. There are simply times when things go awry for reasons that may never be understood. God’s purpose in your Loved one passing is a mystery and there it must it remain. We will not have the total picture until we meet in eternity. Death has never been easy to except. We only find comfort in knowing that our loved ones are in a much happier place. Also knowing in Christ there are no goodbyes and that it is in death that we have eternal life makes things a bit easier. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34”18)
She taught us how to live, and she taught us how to die. God rest her soul. Our beloved Mother, Mother-inlaw, Grand-Mother. Friend to all she came in contact with, endured many hardships, she lost her health, but like Job she never lost her faith, all throughout her life She never gave up on God, Christ was close to her with his Angels when her and our spirits were crushed. She knew the truth about God and stood up for it like a good soldier “I have fought the good battle, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing”
I realize that some cancers are worse than others but I can only talk of what I’ve experienced. I also realize it may take a Christian faith to understand. If you are an Atheist, then I totally agree with you, cancer is a horrible, horrible word.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14