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The journey...

Dec 10, 2011 - 1 comments

So many things in life are a question mark.  Uncertainty rules. I mean around every corner is the possibility that your life will change in an instant.

There have been events in my life that I never planned on or could have never seen coming, in fact many things have have turned out in spite of my best efforts to prevent them.  I guess this is where the origin of the phrase, "If you want God to laugh, tell Him your plans" comes from.

Lately I have been thinking of the the cycle of life...birth, maturing in both body and mind, then finally death. No matter how smart we are or how well we take care of ourselves, we all will eventually die. Do we really want it to be any other way?  There are probably people out there who want live forever, but I would venture to guess that most, myself included, are accepting of death as part of a natural inevitable cycle that must play out.

You've heard people say, "I am not afraid of death so much as the dying."  Only God knows how and when it will happen. Will it be a surprise when it happens or will I know in advance?  I guess even knowing in advance you are dying doesn't really satisfy our basic curiosity of how and when IT will REALLY happen and how IT will feel.

Death isn't something I normally dwell on but lately it's been hard not to.  My fil, who I have known since I was 7 is fighting for his life. He had been dx with bladder cancer last year. Being the optimistic person he is, he faced it head on with his mind set on the best of outcomes. His bladder was removed, he went through chemo, he went through radiation, he learned to adjust to having a bag attached to his side. No more standing up in front of the toilet to pee he said. He recovered and looked once again like the picture of health. Seeing him and knowing his family history of long lived ancestors, you would have thought that of all of us, he would be the last one to get tapped for a terminal illness.

Fast forward to last month and everything changed. An intestinal blockage necessitated a hospital stay and eventually surgery to remove some scare tissue that probably had it's origins in last year's bladder surgery.  Blood clots and challenges eating ravaged his body to the point where his 6'2" frame is barely recognizable at 148 pounds. Still, we were hopeful when the dr's said there was no evidence of the return of the cancer.  A scan earlier this week crushed those hopes. The cancer had returned only now it had spread to most of his abdominal cavity. Chemo is the only option, it's optional, which in and of itself speaks volumes. Bottom line, the chemo will only temporarily prolong his life. How long is any ones guess. There is no cure to the cancer that we all now know will take his physical body.

My busy days continue, only now when I am sitting in the car waiting for the traffic light to change, my mind is completely in another place, so overwhelmed and numb from the knowledge of the reality of what's coming that all I can do is focus on the sound of the blinking turn signal of my car.  Life goes on everywhere but in my mind.

I try to imagine him not being here and I simply cannot do it.  There is no reference I can use to visualize him not living on this earth.  My experience in losing loved ones to death causes me dread.  There will be a time I know when eventually my life will alter, adjust, itself and a new reality, the reality of him being gone becomes the norm. Still, there will always be a hole. Death takes even the most loved, the most full of life, the mightiest of us, and leaves that dreaded hole in the lives of those left behind.

Still...still...I think how blessed I am, how blessed we all are to have each other in this journey. Our lives intersect for years, sometimes almost full lifetimes. We share, fight, love, grieve and live our most intimate moments with people that we sometimes never really chose to be in our lives, yet in the end, we cannot imagine life without them. God's hand is so big. He places people in our lives for reasons that we cannot see sometimes while we are in the middle of it all.  And when life goes into slow motion with news of a terminal illness His plan begins to reveal itself.

How will He use me for His will in all of this?  In spite of not wanting to be traveling down this road, I sense I am exactly where God wants me right now.  Listen, I must listen, and continue to seek Him in all of this. Our God, our Father, our Creator promises us that there will be a tomorrow, a shelter and comfort from our grief, from the pain of this journey in this physical world. And eventually, we all will have an eternal life together.



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1734735 tn?1413778071
by tingletingle, Dec 14, 2011
Amen Julie,
Your writing is exquisite. It is 4am and I can't sleep this evening I thought because I have hay fever, perhaps there is more to it. Today I learned that a Christian man aged 80 years that I had only known for 6 years passed away on Sunday after a long battle with prostate, bladder, bowel cancer. He was larger than life, a giant of business and the sporting world and I was proud to call him a friend despite our gap in age. We met on a golf course and we would communicate every few months on life, God, golf, singing, politics, family. I am happy that God has finally taken him home after such a courageous fight over 15 years that ended with the indignity of carrying  two waste bags everywhere for the past 6 months. He was a strong Catholic. I am sad that I missed his funeral because I didn't find out until after the service finished. Funny, thing reconciling the fact that I called him a friend and missed his Christian funeral but attended the funeral of an acquaintance recently who I discovered during the service did not believe in God.

Here's to eternity
Blessings
Alex

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