By Liz Kimmel
My sister's husband is dying. We've known for a few weeks now, and have been told that his time with us is short. Bob took very good care of this body that has been his home for 80 years. He was strong, but now is weak. He was vocal about his faith. He loved his wife out loud so that all would know how well he thought of her. Now it is hard to even hear his words, for he doesn't have the breath to push them out.
Death has touched my life many times. My little brother was the first of our immediate family to go. Steven was only thirty at the time. It was so hard for my parents to see a son leave earth ahead of them. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to Steven. I wasn’t sure how to smooth his way from this world to the next, so I hid. And then it was too late.
We lost my husband’s dad when our kids were three and one. Kenneth went so quickly that I had no timeto come to his side – no chance to say any words that would ease the pain of loss.
I’ve had three moms and two dads over the course of my life. Each of them made their way Home in unexpected ways, and I had no chance to express my love and thanks to them that “one last time.” I had not even taken a breath yet and my first mom was gone. The rest of them passed with no clue that would have helped my heart to plan. I can only trust that my life had made my love clear to them.
Third from the top of all my siblings is David. His wife heard the news of her tumor the same year I heard mine. Hers was in the lungs, mine in the breast. My sister Mari and I flew to Arizona in October the next year to share an early Christmas with them all (including their three wonderful teenagers, Ashle, Kacey, and Codye). We laughed and baked and hung up wreathes and bells and Santas. We gave gifts and shared our joy. How I prayed that Trude would live long enough to see her girls through high school. She missed this goal by just a few months.
And now we wait for what is sure to come. It is a strange time, knowing that the window of opportunity will be brief. We are able to voice what is in our hearts as we take our leave of Bob. We can still glimpse his humor and his depth of thought. He knows death is near, yet rests in peace as his wife, his girls, his friends, all those he loves, are given a rare chance. We are so blessed to have this time when our hearts and minds can touch his.
What a good God we have. What a sweet gift He has given to us!
*Note: Bob passed from this life to the next in September, 2017, just a few weeks after his brain tumor was diagnosed.