OH DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING?

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It’s a beautiful Sunday morning.  I have the privilege of being in a home overlooking Lake Superior.  It has been a blessing to me to see the Lake in all her glory thru every season.  She can change in an instant.  Alot like life.  The reason I get to view the Lake is that I am a caregiver to an amazing woman.  Imagine you are in the prime of your life.  You own a business that you love.  You are healthy and active.  You are in love.  You have a home to die for.  Your children are all doing well.  Suddenly, you start forgetting things.  Little things at first.  Just like all of us.  Then you start to forget bigger things.  Things that affect your business.  Things that affect your life.  Doctor after doctor you see.  No one can find out what is wrong.  You are sent down to the famous hospital.  The news is horrid.  You have been given a death sentence.  No, not a brain tumor.  A rare form of dementia is your diagnosis.  Isn’t that just for old folks?  They must have gotten you mixed up with another patient.  No. It’s you.  They tell you to get your affairs in order that you are slowly going to lose every ability you have ever learned.  Eventually you will forget how to swallow. You will most likely choke to death on your own spittle.   There is nothing they can do for you.  You have nothing but agony to look forward to.  How do wrap your mind around that? Everything you had ever dreamed of is suddenly slipping thru your fingers.  You lose your business.  You lose your home.  You lose the love of your life.  Your children are states away and not in a position to help. Your friends start avoiding you because they don’t know what to say.  You begin to lose your ability to use sentences. You no longer can drive.  You need a legal guardian.  You need a caregiver.  You can no longer read more than a few words.  You can no longer write .  You have lost that which most of us treasure beyond measure…independence.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would not take it well.  I am fiercely independent.  Don’t want no stinkin’ help.  I can do it all.

So now comes the amazing part.  This woman has endured all of this with a spirit of grace and acceptance.  I have seen few tears.  I  have seen NO bitterness or anger.  I have seen no depression.  What I have seen is love, peace, joy, humility, kindness, laughter and most of all, a great faith in her God to work good in all things.  Is she a saint.  No.  Was she a saint before this?  No.  If someone would have asked her if she could travel down this road before her, she would have said no way.  But we are never asked, are we?  For we do not know what great strengths we possess until they are needed.  I have seen this in a few great women I have had the honor of being with during their journeys to their eternal homes.  Not one of them started out a saint.  But I can tell you this, they all ended up being a blessing to everyone they met on their way home.   I can only pray that I, too, shall be a blessing if my journey takes me down a road I never wanted to go.  And if, dear reader, your journey is hard remember you never walk it alone.

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5 responses »

  1. Your blog reminded me of a delightful white-haired English pastor we knew. How a pastor from England ended up in Duluth, Minnesota is a bit of a mystery–but that’s not the point. I loved hearing him preach, but with that accent I could have enjoyed hearing him read the phone book. Okay, that’s not the point either. A friend who had been close to him came back to visit him near the end of his life. At this time he was in a nursing home slouched in a wheelchair. To look him in the face it was necessary to get on the floor. This English pastor who had traveled, preached many places, and also had a home by Lake Superior said, “I have lost it all. All I have left is God, and God is enough.”
    I hope I never walk those steps; but if I do, I hope it is with the same grace as these two people have shown.

  2. Wow. I’m sitting here feeling bad for myself because I have the flu… What great depth she must have. I just read a book called, “Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral” and this woman made me think of the characters in that story. Amazing. You should read it Robyn. I think you might relate…

  3. “O death where is thy sting?” My Dad used to quote that verse from the Bible, why, to this day I do not know, but it made me smile while reading this, but also made me sad. Thank you.

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