Sunday, September 28, 2008


I visited my uncle at the hospice center today. Advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer. That's the beast that has transformed this 55 year-old man from a healthy, doting grandparent to a shell wasting away before our eyes, all in a span of approximately 3 weeks. Three weeks. Three. weeks. My heart could not be heavier for him and his daughter, my cousin, as they try to wrap their minds around how this uninvited intruder has so speedily and stealthily robbed them of the man they knew. I think of my own dad and how I would feel if three weeks from now he was wasting away on a hospice bed, pain his constant companion.

How does one make sense of this? What can I say to make things better for either of them? What can I learn from this? I can hug my children tighter and speak more kindly to my husband, all the while promising that I will no longer take them for granted. I can swear that my perspective has changed and I'll never again waste precious days holding a grudge or wishing away the present in anticipation of an easier future . . . or simply not being fully present. I'll put the phone down and play Candyland one more time. I'll go a whole day without saying, "In a minute" when one of my kids calls for me to come and see something he's made. I'll read an entire book to my 2 year-old without turning 2 or 3 pages at once just because she's not old enough to notice. I'll bite my tongue. I'll tell my husband how proud I am of him. I'll . . .

But, will I really? For how long? Perspective is an amazing thing in its ability to profoundly shake and shape how we feel yet disappear in the blink of an eye when the daily grind of life forces itself back into the picture. Why can I not force it out? Why is my resolve so utterly useless?

Answers I do not have. But, for my uncle I will pray. Pray for healing. For peace. For relief from pain. For meaningful moments with his daughter and his grandchildren, moments they can remember forever. For my cousin I will pray. Pray for comfort. For strength. For unmistakable glimpses of God's profound love for her. For a miracle. For myself I pray that the Holy Spirit will find and destroy every self-serving, vain, lazy, and inconsiderate cell that robs me daily of precious moments with people I love. Change my heart, oh God.

1 comment:

Tonya said...

My husband lost his mother to cancer 8 years ago. I understand the pain of expectant loss and the urgent desire to live the last days to the fullest. I will pray for your uncle and cousin...that the Lord will grant comfort, strength and peace.