DEATH is sad and dark and sometimes unfair.
Since April of this year, I have lost three relatives and one neighbor.
Thursday morning was swept away by making coffee,
making fresh juice, ironing, and jumping in the shower
to get to Katie’s funeral service on time.
A migraine slowly took its place behind my left eye, but
I persevered. I wanted to show up.
I didn’t know her that well. She was a neighbor in my building. We
exchanged small talk about her husband,
Bob, and the never ending topic The Weather.
Katie had an apple pie sweetness and I
gravitated to her. I had this vision of her looking down
from heaven and seeing that I attended her service and
I know what she would say (with a smile) “Oh, Lola made it.
At her service, her family described her as a gentle soul, quiet,
unassuming, and as someone who loved to shop. She was a caring
mother to her children and to her husband of 50 years. One family
member remembered Katie saying, “If I did one thing right in this
world, it was that I was there for Bob.”
This is what I knew about Katie. Her husband, Bob, was going
through many health issues.
She took on the challenge of caring for him from feeding
to driving him to his chemo. I ‘d see her in passing.
She looked faded and worn out. I knew how she felt; I have traveled
that road. When a family member has cancer,
you simply surrender. You have no sense of
time; you can’t eat or sleep.
Bob lost his battle with cancer 15 months ago.
After Bob’s death, Katie got her life in full gear . . .
returning to her part-time job at the mall, seeing friends,
and visiting family. After being widowed for only five months, she
found out that she had liver cancer.
The doctor gave her three months to live.
She surpassed it by living for two more months.
She died two weeks ago.
I question God’s way of doing things sometimes. Don’t you?
How unfair! I thought. Couldn’t she have at least lived 10 more years?
More years to enjoy some pleasures in life like going on a
safari adventure in Africa with a girlfriend or joining her
neighbors for HAPPY HOUR at our neighborhood
bar and grill.
With my migraine in full throttle, I managed to catch a few words from
Father John during the service. He said
“Katie’s life was about caring for others. Many times we wonder
how can this happen? But we have to Trust God.
God knows the future not us.
He see’s the bigger picture. We are only a small part of the equation.”
I know Katie is in a better place . . . heaven is cancer-free. I just
don’t get the part where she was beginning to get in the FLOW of
life then learns she has cancer and dies. Maybe there’s nothing to
understand about death. You accept it and move forward.
These days I feel a sense of relief knowing Katie
and my relatives are in heaven, surrounded by God’s light.
In this way, my losses have gradually felt less like dark and sad
Heaven to me is a place where there’s no suffering.
I question your way of doing things. At times
I can’t see the big picture, but if I did it would overwhelm me
and I wouldn’t get out of bed.
In the book of Isaiah, which I have memorized
and hold close to my heart, you say, “My thoughts
are completely different from yours, and my ways are far
beyond anything you could imagine. For just
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than
I love that verse.
Today, help me believe we are all
here for a reason and a purpose.