Have you experienced death of a loved one from cancer? I have. More than once. You too may have experienced multiple losses. I wonder – do we become more compassionate from the experiences?
About 4 years ago, my husband’s sister called and said, “I’ve got cancer.” Because her husband had passed away, Holt was all she had left. She decided to stay with us, and we figured six months or a year, she’d be with us for however long it took.
She arrived, we arranged for hospice to come in and assess her. That was a Friday afternoon. She’s toddling around the house with her cane and they knew where she was physically.
On Monday when the hospice nurse returned, Wrenette was immobilized and no longer speaking. The horror of cancer is this – it was so swift, immediate and painful to see her demise, yet when she decided it was time to quit therapy, she also decided it was time to go home to her Lord.
In the next few days she didn’t move. That beautiful creamy skin turned to an ashy gray and we physically had to move her. One afternoon the hospice nurse said, “Who’s she holding on for? Who has she not talked to?” Our son Matthew! We had been so consumed by her, we hadn’t even thought to call Matthew.
We texted, “Matt, call right now.” He was able to step out of work for just a moment and say, “Aunt Wrenette, I love you. Goodbye.” In that moment she said, “Well hello, Matt.” My husband, the hospice nurse, the chaplain, her two friends—we all jumped with surprise, absolute delight. But that’s all she said. Her skin was still that ashy gray color.
She had converted to Catholicism. I had never heard Catholic last rights before, but the priest had been called in by her friends. In that moment, the priest physically called Father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David and the other saints to the front gates of heaven to welcome their sister home.
The woman who was ashy gray and couldn’t move—physically we had to move her—pivoted from her hips with her arms outstretched and a soft yellow glow not only filled her face but filled the entire room with light.
It’s the most beautiful moment of my entire life. Now we are moving from Dallas to rural North Louisiana to be within 2 blocks of my 91 & 92 year old parents. Why? Dad has cancer and as the doctor told him, it’s bad and it’s everywhere.
I’m also scared silly yet honored at the same time that I CAN pick up and move to spend time with my mom and my father, the ones who introduced me to my Father who art in Heaven. As others prepare for SheSpeaks and other wonderful conferences, know that I will be MIA this year for many events as I will be soaking in the presence of my father and my God.
That’s the horror of cancer. We have to face it to get through it, one day and one person at a time. Yet I am filled with love, peace and confidence that God has us in His loving, healing hands. Otherwise, I would be horrified. You too?
47 thoughts on “Cancer. Horror not horoscope. Linkup”
What a beautiful tribute to your sister-in-law. We have lost several relatives to cancer, most recently my father-in-law (5 years ago yesterday.) Prayers for your family. I am glad you can go spend time with your parents.
Your neighbor at #LivefreeThursday,
Dana, thank you for taking time to comment today and I’m so sorry for your losses. I agree. God’s blessed me with time to spend with my dad and family. Treasure! Absolute treasure.
Thanks again for taking time to share. Hugs. Susan
I’m so sorry to hear about your dad, but how wonderful that you can go be with him and your mom in these precious days. The story of your sister-in-law is touching. I’m grateful for a God who shows us mercy in every season of our lives and deaths.
Oh Lisa, yes, it is beautiful to see God’s mercy. Thank you from the depths of my heart for taking the time to leave your lovely message. Hugs, Susan
I like many have experienced the cancer, your story touched my heart, what a sad but great experience for you all to be there when she moved on. I am so glad for you that you can move closer to your mom and father to be with him. I pray for your strength and your family and blessing for your move.
Thank you for being a gracious CO-Host with us on #OMHGWW, it is an honor and pleasure to work with you.
I have Pinned and shared your post today!
Take care, Karren
Susan, thank you for sharing these hard but beautiful words. My heart aches at what you must be feeling as you think about what’s in store for him and your family. What a blessing for you to be able to move close to care for him and your mom, though … I pray that your time together is sweet. Glad to be your neighbor at Purposeful Faith today.
Thank you Lois. Your prayer is so meaningful to me. Hugs, Susan
Susan, I’m so sorry! We too are walking through cancer. My husband’s parents will be moving a few miles away in a couple weeks. As I pray for us, I will add you and your family in too! I will pray your move and transition goes smoothly and for precious memories and moments to be enjoyed together. Love & Blessings sweet friend.
Oh Micah, I’m sorry to hear you too will be dealing with cancer. I will add your family to my prayers for peace, comfort and the hand of God to be felt. If I can ever lend an ear, know it’s ready for you. Hugs, Susan
I’m so sorry you are going through this. I will be praying for you as you support your dad. May God give you peace and special signs of His presence and love for you.
Valerie, thank you for your lovely prayer. Signs of His presence and love – simply magnificent. A heart-felt thank you. Hugs, Susan
Thank you Valerie. Your prayers are powerful!
Susan, I am so sorry that you must walk through this with your parents. Praying for our God to give you strength, energy, wisdom and blessings along the way.
Joanne, your prayer is beautiful and I thank you for taking the time to pray for me. Strength, energy, wisdom and blessings. Oh hugs, sweet friend! Susan
I’m so sorry that you’ve had to face the death of so many of your family members, Susan. But I’m grateful to hear that this story of your sister-in-law had a beautiful moment at her passing. What an amazing experience to witness–reinforcing the faith of all who were there, I’m sure. I will pray for you and your father as you help him in his last days as well, my friend.
Thank you, Beth. Your prayers are coveted! Yes, seeing the light of God sets faith on a SOLID rock for sure. Hugs, Susan
I will pray for your parents in this time. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Oh, thank you Mary. Prayers are treasured for sure. Hugs, Susan
That’s a heartbreaking but incredible story Susan. I can imagine being privy to such a spiritual, holy transition can feel like both a blessing and a curse. Thank you for teaching and preparing all of us in such a beautiful way. Every single one of us will come face to face with these truths in this life.
Meg, When you SEE the light of God, it truly is a blessing. So beautiful. May we all experience the beauty of the beginnings of eternal life!
Susan lifting all of you in prayer. So sorry. What a beautiful story that you are moving to be with them and spend time with them. Sorry you are missing the conferences, but you are doing what is important in the Kingdom. Hugs sweet friend.
Debbie, thank you and hugs back, my sweet friend. I’m so very honored to call you my friend. #treasured for sure!
I pray that the time you have with your dad is filled with even more beauty of God’s presence than you’ve ever known. Sending you lots of love as you walk this part of your path with Jesus.
Becky, what a beautiful prayer. I too pray God’s beautiful presence is felt by all of us. Your love is felt. Thank you. Hugs!
Yes Susan, I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for sharing this story. The horrible pain of losing a loved one can only be soothed by knowing they are in the loving arms of Jesus. My sweet mother-in-law kept her signature sense of humor until her final few days. What a comfort to see the joy she found in Jesus radiate through her until she went home to be with Him. Blessings friend, and I will be praying for your dad!
Oh, Kristine! how magnificent to have her sense of humor present! I pray dad and i can have time for me to learn all about his childhood and life lessons learned over 90+years. Hugs, Susan
Susan, thank you for following me on Twitter, so I could find your beautiful words here. So glad you have decided to do this: “know that I will be MIA this year for many events as I will be soaking in the presence of my father and my God.” One thing I will never regret is caring for my Mum until her last breath. She passed away in April 2014 from glioblastoma multiforme. It was the most excruciating, traumatic and yet also hope-giving experience in my life. May God bless you as you lean into Him in and through your suffering.
Oh, Anna, how wonderful that you were able to be there with her. Time with our loved ones is truly priceless. Your pray is a blessing. Thank you, my sweet new Twitter/blogging friend. Susan
Keeping you in my prayers, Susan. Such a heartbreaking time, but how wonderful you’re able to move back and spend this time with them both. Cancer took my mother many years ago – what a horrid disease. Praying for strength and comfort for you all.
Kathryn, your prayers are priceless to me, so thank you from the depths of my heart. Hugs, Susan
Susan, this is a beautiful testimony here today, friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love you, friend. Going MIA from conferences is the best, wisest choice you can make. Next year you can go. This year, you can soak up all you can of God’s presence and your parents as you say. Lifting up a prayer for your dad right now.
Betsy, I am SO thrilled we’ve been able to get to know each other better. Your friendship is precious to me and so are your prayers. Thank you.
Oh Susan, my heart breaks, yet smiles with you. I lost my dad in June. It was a painful, yet beautiful six months of waiting, sharing, loving, giving. I can only pray along with you and hope that this time with your parents will create some beautiful memories to cherish. Sending you a big hug! 🙂
Oh, Marva! Thank you. You know first hand this loss I’m facing. I accept your HUG and send one back! Susan
What a tough situation to be in to see your loved ones suffer. I have seen this up close several times and it is never easy. To have the hope of Jesus by your side and by theirs, however, can turn the sad realities of life into a celebration of life. Thank you for sharing and hosting at your space.
Oh Jaime, how beautifully stated. Thank you. Hugs Susan
Bless your heart for being so available to your family. Prayers for much grace and strength!
Thank you Michele. I’ve learned that people matter. Hugs! Susan
Oh, Susan! What a beautiful testimony to the power of dying well with Jesus! Praying for you.
Thank you Liz. It’s the beauty of the start of eternal LIFE!
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this post of courage and love. Your FMF neighbor #14.
Thank you Sabrina. Hugs, Susan
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