Yesterday, my sister’s mom died after a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sandy wanted to come home to my sister’s house, and had asked that when she passed, her husband would be holding one hand, and my sister — her only child — would be holding the other hand. That’s just how it happened, only hours after hospice brought her to Debbie’s house. I am heartbroken for my sister, my nieces, and for Sandy’s husband. (Their 25th wedding anniversary was just last week.) Cancer is not kind.
I’m making a slideshow for Sandy’s memorial, and came across this old photo. It makes me smile; she looks like she is simply enjoying life. And that’s what we ALL should be doing. Every. Single. Day.
Recently, I have heard several stories of freak accidents, like a woman who died after falling on an escalator at the mall. I know several people who are currently battling cancer. Every one of these stories is heartbreaking — but they all remind me that life is short. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. I have always been able to easily imagine worst-case scenarios; going to Africa last year was just about the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I finally realized that if it is my time to go — if the number of my days is done — then I will go, whether I am flying over the ocean, staring down a bull elephant in musth, or just sitting on my couch at home. Oddly, this is very freeing, if I can get my mind wrapped around it, because if it is NOT my time to go, then I won’t.
I pray that the LORD will teach me to number my days carefully (Psalm 90:12a) and to truly make the most of the time (Ephesians 5:16a).
**Sandy’s family has set up a memorial page to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. If you would like to contribute, you can do so here.