I’m better, mostly, so I’m going to attempt a real post today.
When we were at Chick-fil-A with my parents for lunch last Saturday, talk turned to what was going on at the church we all attended throughout my high school years and beyond. I still have friends who go there and get frequent updates from them. The most recent thing I had heard was about a woman at the church who has been fighting cancer for years; the doctors had finally given up, saying they had done all they could do and her body couldn’t handle any more treatment. When my parents asked whether I had heard the news about this woman, this is what I thought they were talking about. It turns out that since that news, she had indeed passed away.
Even though the news was expected, I found myself caught off guard. I tried not to let it show at the time, giving the appropriate words of sympathy and then steering the conversation elsewhere as soon as possible. But it has been eating away at me ever since.
It’s not that I was best friends with the woman or anything. I don’t know that I could have picked her out of a crowd before she got sick. She lived in our neighborhood, however, and our family and hers intersected fairly often. My sister house- and dog-sat for them several times. Her little girl was my sister’s flower girl. She came to my wedding shower and still sent a gift for PJ less than six months later. I’d say our families were friends even if I wasn’t personally one of her friends.
What hits me more than how our lives intersected, though, was her role in life. She was a wife and mother–just like me. She was a young woman, somewhere in her early thirties. She had everything to live for, a great family, a great job, a promising future. She was also a woman who was devoted to serving God. Even when she was having sicker days, she was doing what she could to help out around the church and help others. Up until the end, she was someone I could look up to.
I suppose I’m not exactly grieving for a life wasted; she did more in her thirty-something years than many people do in eighty or more. I’m grieving for her husband who is now a young widower with a young girl to raise. I’m grieving for her little girl who will have only vague memories of her sick mama. Why should this little girl be robbed of the opportunity to get to know her mommy the way the rest of us have?
And the worst of it is that if even such a wonderful wife, mother, and godly woman can be taken from life so early, why has mine been spared? What’s to say it can’t happen to me too? Or someone I know even better than her, like my mom or a sister? I know her fight was a long one, and she lived probably five more years than the doctors originally gave her. But that doesn’t lessen the tragedy in my eyes at all. This time the big C-word has hit a little too close to home, and I’m terrified next time it will affect me or my family personally.