As anyone who has faced a serious hardship will tell you, sometimes life is going along just fine and then WHAM! you get terrible, horrible, awful news.
This week has been one of those times. On Tuesday, I found out my aunt has brain cancer. Each day that goes by, the news has gotten worse. She has a brain tumor, but they will do surgery. They have to postpone surgery because it is larger than they thought. It is fast growing and clearly malignant. And today we learn that without surgery, she might have a couple of weeks. With surgery, maybe a couple of months.
Out of the blue. Just like that, her whole life has been turned upside down in the most awful way imaginable. I think the only blessing in the way this is unfolding is that she wasn't hit by a truck and killed instantly; she has time to see her family, her husband, her children.
But it's the kind of news that hits you in the gut and makes it hard to breathe. A terrible and stark reminder that tragedy and heartache are out there, and sometimes they happen to you.
I had to tell my boys about what is happening tonight. After a rather long discussion I had to just lay it out there for them. There are bad things in this world. There are horrible illnesses and accidents and bad people who hurt others. Those things happen, and eventually, everyone has to go through times that are hard and make us hurt. But the good news is, most of the time, life is good. Most of the time, we are happy and things are fine and we have good friends and do fun things and we don't feel sad. But yeah, sometimes bad things happen, even to the best of people.
Right now, my heart hurts for my aunt. It hurts for her husband and her kids. It really hurts for my grandma, who is going to have to face the horrible pain of losing a child. I don't care if you are 85 years old, no one wants to bury their daughter. My heart hurts for my dad who is losing a sister who he is very close to. My heart hurts for all the people who's lives she has touched, and for all the people who are hurting because of her illness and who are going to be devastated when she passes.
This life isn't the end, and I take comfort in that. Whatever the days ahead have in store for her, I hope she can take a little comfort in that too.
Tonight I pray that God will care for my aunt Debbie. That he will hold that boisterous, outgoing, and funny soul tight and help her through this terrible trial. I pray that He will guide the hands, hearts and minds of the doctors and nurses who are entrusted with her care. And I pray that He will grant comfort to those who are suffering alongside her and who will miss her so terribly when she is gone. I pray that she has at least a bit more quality time with her family and that her pain and suffering won't be too great. I pray that when He finally does call her name, that all the angels and saints in heaven and loved ones that have gone before her will be there to welcome her home.