A lament for Heidi

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After a long 24 hour bedside vigil, I was finally able to come home, change my clothes and shower. But it’s not over. I’ll go back to her bedside shortly, and breathe in her precious smell until she smells like heaven.

I know how this goes. My youngest sister will be the fourth beloved, precious family member we will lose in just over a year.

Oh, Lord, I just don’t understand. What is going on here???

Last year, on Christmas morning no less, we first learned Heidi had a brain tumor. Later that same week we were informed it was glioblastoma – the fastest growing, most deadly and ruthless form of brain cancer with an average prognosis of 12 – 14 months Screaming into Nothingness (when God disappears). Here we are, in month 13 and she is days (maybe hours?) away from dying. Heidi is anything but average, but in death, her numbers will align fairly well with the statistics.

She will leave behind a husband, Chad, who has been her best friend since forever. They were married 23 years. Chad and Heidi have two children – Ashley, 17, a high school senior, and Nate, 14, an eighth grader. Don’t tell me they’ll be okay. They won’t – at least not yet. Their momma is about to die.

Oh, Lord, I just don’t understand.

It’s NOT okay to lose your momma when you’re a teenager. I have analyzed this situation from every angle and I can find nothing that makes sense or eases the pain. And I think I could punch someone in the face right now who tries to tell any of us how God works all things together for the good.

There is no way this can be good. No way.

Unless, perhaps…. Unless I don’t understand what “good” really is….

As a family we have all wrestled with mortality and God and His plan throughout Heidi’s illness. But one night, while in a long nighttime wrestling match with God, I suddenly wondered if His idea of good is simply not the same as ours. Maybe He doesn’t have a Webster’s. Maybe when He Google’s “good”, He doesn’t read of the things we typically think of (health, wealth, prosperity, fitting into your size 6 jeans, sipping wine along the Cour Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence, France…)

If God is good, and I have NO DOUBT He is, then His definition of good CANNOT be the same as ours.

Because, Oh, Lord, I just don’t understand you otherwise.

It’s interesting, but in my experience, the things that we typically think of as “good” and as our “blessings” are often the things that create a separation between God and us. They are things that, often unintentionally and often subversively, lead us to believe we don’t need a God. Things like enough money (or too much), enough food (or too much), enough vacation (or too much), enough or too much of everything, as well as the absence of disease and absence of trials.

Conversely, it is the sufferings of this life that bring us to our knees and to the place where we find our desperate need of a Savior.  And I believe that more than anything God longs to draw us closer to Him. He wants nothing more for all to come to know him and accept the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior.

So what if maybe, just MAYBE…., in God’s dictionary, “health” is not the absence of disease, but, instead, one who knows he/she is nothing apart from Christ, and that we live and breathe and have our being in Him alone.  Since God IS good, and longs to give us good things, MAYBE, “health” has nothing to do with our physical bodies.

Maybe, in God’s dictionary, “wealthy” does not refer to one who has a hefty savings and retirement account, drives a fancy car, and owns all manner of material possessions. Maybe being wealthy actually means to understand that friends, family and a purpose in life are some of the richest gifts offered to us. Maybe we’re rich when we realize how little we actually need “things” and start living more simply – when we have more time for people instead of accumulating and maintaining our “things”. Maybe wealth is the opposite of what we always thought.

Maybe, in God’s dictionary, a “blessing” isn’t a concept we can actually get our heads around. Maybe, saying we’re “blessed” when referring to health, wealth, jobs, children and good fortune causes great pain to those struggling with cancer, infertility, unemployment, a prodigal son/daughter, rape, poverty, oppression, rejection, loneliness, etc. because it implies God has withheld His blessings from those people.  ESPECIALLY – oh especially – when we Christians suggest it is the LACK of faith that produces suffering in this life are we guilty of serious theological malpractice!

Are suffering people NOT blessed???  Are we able to escape all trouble and heartache if our faith is simply strong enough??? When people suffer from the evils in this world is it a reflection of their lack of faith???

Hell no.

It just can’t be. Or God is not good. God must have a different definition of “blessed” then we do.

Otherwise, God, I just don’t understand.

So, I decided to start reading God’s dictionary. I cannot make sense of Heidi’s passing any other way. I need a God who IS GOOD. One whom I can trust even when I’m angry at Him. One who IS PRESENT everywhere. One who doesn’t pick and choose favorites and grant the rich, the beautiful, and those born into first-world countries more “blessings” than the rest.

This is what I found in God’s dictionary:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn – for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek – for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful – for they shall be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart – for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers – for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 3 – 10

So as I resume this bedside vigil there are TWO things I can know for sure: Chad and family will be comforted. And Heidi, well, she shall soon see God, for she is truly pure in heart.

This precious family does not have the “blessings” that most people think of – they are in the valley of the shadow of death and this is an impossibly sad and difficult place. But, I’ve just GOT to believe that according to God’s dictionary, they are blessed indeed.

Otherwise, Lord, I just don’t understand. You just don’t make any sense to me.

And then the Lord said to me:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

 

87 thoughts on “A lament for Heidi

  1. Cindy this is beautiful. So raw and yet so insiteful. We don’t really know what God’s blessings are but Heidi will soon. Hugs to you. I am sorry for your losses this year.

    1. I was lead to this beautiful piece at a time when God knew I needed it the most. I have an end stage disease with no knowledge of the time period left ahead of me. Heidi was so blessed to have you with her as she continued her journey. Hugs to you!

  2. I just love your honesty and ability to share your journey. Your sister and family have been on my mind a lot. Continued prayers for you all. Hugs.

  3. So very true and so honestly written. We will never understand all of God’s purposes and directions in our lives. You have laid it out so honestly. Blessings to Heidi, Chad, the kids and the rest of your families.

  4. I love what you wrote. I lost my brother a little over a year ago and even though I know he is enjoying himself in heaven it has been my most challenging years here on earth to continue on. Asking reasons why sometimes we don’t get the answers but I know thru the trials there have been huge growth and blessings. We can’t see the big picture all the time. I know this because it wasn’t but 2 months later after my oldest brothers passing my middle brother finally rolled into the doctor for a check up and within that same week had a 6 bypass no symptoms at all and he is doing great today. This experience left me stunned and family and friends reeling but thru it all God was there to minister and to use the experience. Just like these words you touch others to question and take a moment and that plants a seed. Thankful we will see our loved ones in the future. Trying to make the most of the time now to witness for others to share in this future has become more pressing on my heart and that is the blessing I received. I never had a grandiose testimony that would knock people’s socks off but God gave me as sad as it is sometimes to me, this wonderful story to tell and it’s much easier to minister and relate too. So my terrible hurt turned into my blessing. I will continue to pray for you and your family there is pain and sadness but there can be joy too.I try not to look to the past, not worry about the future, but live in the moment. Blessing and continued peace

  5. Beautifully written and shared with us. I needed to read this. I should memorize it. Thank you. God’s peace be with all of the family.

  6. Im so sorry Cindy for the heartache you all are feeling! Beautiful words for a beautiful person :(Thinking of you and your family! !

  7. From the heart – Cindy prayers for you and your family. Great memories of you girls. My heart aches for you.
    Nancy (VanHill) Hubach

  8. Thank you for this.
    Our daughter and son in law attended a funeral
    Last week for a friend who died from same type
    Of cancer as Heidi. He was 37.
    This week they got word of another friend diagnosed
    With stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He and his wife just
    Came home from hospital 4 weeks ago with their second child.
    Your words to us are hard, beautiful and true.
    Come Lord Jesus.

  9. Thanks Cindy! I read this to our family, because like yours we have been suffering with medical hardship with two of our children. One had a Cancerous brain tumor and resulting brain injury and is disabled. The other just was diagnosed with Wegener’s an auto-immune disease. So much of what you shared has been taught to us through hardship. Our daughter (brain Cancer) claimed Proverbs 3:5-6 as her verse going into the surgery for the removal of her tumor. I believe it was God speaking directly to us as she shared this verse with us. Keep trusting in his plan for your family. You might understand better when looking back at this. Hugs! Kelly (schoonbeckk@calschools.org)

    1. Oh sweet Kelly – how in the world can all this be happening to one family??? Yet another reminder of how it is just impossible to try to make sense of this life – we’ll drive ourselves crazy! Our only hope is in Christ Jesus and to trust that His ways are higher than ours (that used to drive me crazy when people said it to me…. so cliche!) And yet, in these dark days, it IS the very thing we must lean on. His promises are true. His love is real. His goodness stands. Even when we don’t see it. I will be praying for your family. I have accumulated quite a list of other families suffering from cancer and glioblastoma and it is astonishing just how much suffering is in our little circle here in the world. And, it is true that in some mysterious holy way, we can find strength from each other – so thank-you for sharing.

  10. Cindy, my mother died suffering of cancer back in 1974, 44 years from this Friday the 12th. I was a young married 23 yr old woman, my brother was 9 and my sister was 7. Mom struggled to have more children after me, miscarried at least 2 babies. My siblings are in their 50’s, beautiful servants of the Lord, married and happy. But the scars exist. Yes, Heidi’s children will be Ok because God isn’t calling your sister home without consideration of the needs of her family. He will call for them lovingly. Her children will grow up understanding 2 things. Never ever take life for granted, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean bad things can’t happen, so they will keep relationships strong within the family and their friends. The 2nd thing is, they will be able to be strong for those who mourn. They will sit by them and not be afraid of the tears or anger that comes forth from those in grief. It will hurt all over again, but there will be a compassionate love for the hurting they couldn’t have had before. I learned so much about God, life, love, relationships in the past 44 years since Mom died. But there is a scar. If not, I wouldn’t be shedding tears as I write this. But in the past couple of months I was at the bedside of someone dying, holding their adult children and letting them cry. I don’t know if I could have done that before. God will use their grief for His Glory, but until then…..let the children cry, scream, whatever and just hold them. So sorry for your losses!

    1. Oh Rebecca – such beautiful and true words! Thank-you so much! I know in my head that Heidi’s kids will be okay, the heart just doesn’t feel it yet. Your testimony is such a timely reminder of the truth that we all know – but quickly forget – that time does heal. And your insight as to the gifts that will now be given to Ashley and Nate because of their loss, namely, their ability to empathize and not just sympathize with others going through tremendous loss, is SO helpful! Oh the redemptive power of those in Christ! You’re so right, the scar remains, but the scar is a reminder that healing occurred. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for sharing!

    2. Rebecca, Oh how true your Beautiful Words are! Thank You and Cindy for sharing your Beautiful Hearts and Souls with us.
      Cindy, My Beautiful, Loving, Sister passed at 45 years old with the same cancer Your Beautiful, Loving, Sister has. We found out in August of 2009 and she passed in December of 2009. My Precious Mother and Best Friend passed in 2010. Each from different types of cancer. At that time I couldn’t understand what was going on. Now I know from their passings I’ve learned to be more Understanding, Loving and Caring with others that are going through such heartaches. To me that has been a Blessing. God will turn your precious family’s heartache into a Blessing. It’s just hard to see now. First you have to, Each in there on way, grieve for great your great loss. Yes, The scar from a broken heart will always be present. Yet, From that scar you will be able to Bless people in ways you never thought you would or could.
      God Bless You and Your Precious Family has you continue on your journey here on earth. May we all find comfort in knowing We Will See Our Loved Ones Again.

  11. I share in your pain. 4 years ago my sister died of the same kind of brain tumor. She left behind a husband of 24 years and 3 girls 6, 4 and 1 and a half. My dad died of a sudden heart attack last September. I went with one of my brothers and my mom to pick out the casket and my brother was not feeling well all that week. He went into the hospital. They kept him there till he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
    Asking why and why now is, was, and still frequents my mind. I still have hard days. Because like you it was and is so much to handle. I will pray for you in the coming days and months. Peace only in and through our Lord. Melanie

    1. Oh Melanie – that depth of pain is incomprehensible. Likewise, I will be praying for you and your family. The weird of beauty of social media is to discover that we are not alone in our pain. We know that we have our Heavenly Father is close as every breath we take, but it is so comforting to know other humans are walking alongside us and sharing the pain, too. Thank-you for sharing.

    2. CINDY, Melanie, I’m so Sorry for y’all’s loss…You and ALL the Family will be in my Prayers!! MAY GOD’S PEACE BE FOREVER IN YALL’S HEARTS!!! And to EVERYBODY that has commented on Cindy’s SO BITTER/SWEET STORY, just know y’all are not Alone!! GOD’S GOT US!! I can tell by the PRECIOUS words and BLESSED ENCOURAGING LOVE sent to Cindy and her Family and to All Others needing HIS BLESSED TOUCH for whatever reason, these are coming from THE FAMILY OF GOD…..I have been so touched and BLESSED by your Story, Cindy, and ALL THE COMMENTS I HAVE READ!! I, too, have lost My Momma, Nephew that was like a son, and both my Brothers(Within 18 months apart)…my Daddy died 10 years ago this year, too!!! January 5th of this year, 8 years ago, now, is when my Momma went to be with THE LORD…It’s like it was yesterday… I ache with Pain for her each and every day! But, I’m so Thankful GOD took her home so she doesn’t have to suffer anymore! That helps with giving me PEACE for her passing…none of us wants to see our Loved ones have to suffer, but it’s like just one more day, LORD, just one more hour… I’m so very Blessed having come from a big family…I have my WONDERFUL GOD FEARING HUSBAND OF 40+ years, a Beautiful Daughter, and a Grandpuppy that GOD HAS SO RICHLY BLESSED ME WITH…I’m so very THANKFUL for my 4 Sisters, that I Love so Dearly…my oldest Sis’es are Twins, 10 years older than me…And I know no one can take the place of our Mommas, but my twin Sis’es are the closest I’ve got to having my Momma here!! I’m the Baby of the Family, so my siblings have always treated me as such!! And I’m not Complaining at all, lol!! I Pray each and everyone that has lost Loved Ones with KNOW WHO HOLDS OUR FUTURE, AND TRUST IN HIM, FOR HE IS OUR LORD, COMFORTER, HEALER, and only wants the best for each of us…I hate that this one-line comment turned into a page, but I’m not Sorry…..this has been so lethargic for me in this late night I’m having, not by choice…My PRAYER 🙏🏻 is that each and everyone of us HAVE PEACE THAT PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING……WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE…THANK YOU FATHER GOD FOR ALL THE MANY MANY WONDERFUL BLESSINGS WE HAVE RECEIVED!! I Loved reading each BLESSINGS part of your Story, Cindy!! My GOD give each one of us and our families the UNDERSTANDING YOU would have us to know of YOUR WORKINGS in our Lives…AMEN

  12. Beautifully written. My husband also has Glioblastoma and we met with Chad and Heidi once over coffee to answer some questions about Optune. We are neighbors to Kurt VanderSchuur (he put us in touch). I’m so sorry for your pain and sorrows, sending prayers to the entire family and yes, trust in God because we sure don’t have the capacity to understand what happens in life.

    1. Dearest Sue – I have been praying for you and Randy and I don’t even know you – but Kurt has been our link. I often ask Kurt how things are doing at your home. You have taught our family much and given us hope and strength in this journey whether you realize it or not. I, too, am so sorry for your pain and your sorrow – it’s just too much, isn’t it??? And yet, somehow, each day, we get up, we shower, get dressed and face a new day and look to Christ for strength. And somehow – miraculously – he provides. Somehow, each new day comes. Somehow, He meets us right where we are and we keep going. I am sure you guys have had many days where you felt like you couldn’t keep going – but then you did! Chad could SO relate! Our prayers are for many more special moments for you guys to share together and that you defy the odds of the evil diagnosis of glioblastoma! And may the Good Lord give some wise scientist a breakthrough to find a CURE VERY SOON!!!!!

  13. My brother passed away almost 8 years ago from the same brain tumor. He just turned 45. Thank you for writing your heart and mine. I, too, believe that God is good. I cannot believe that he thinks tumors, cancer, suffering, etc. is good. Those things are here because sin is in the world. I believe that God is good and He can and will make good things to work together for His good – even though I don’t understand. Praying for you in this special time you have left with your sister.

    1. A-men, Robin! God HAS to be good, or He isn’t God. And the evils of this world are NOT from Him!!! Thank-you for sharing your own painful story with glioblastoma. Isn’t it just the worst??? I cannot think of a greater evil in all the world of illness (perhaps because it is still so raw in our lives right now…) But, it is surprising that as these stories pour in of others who have battled the same impossible evil, have some found that in Christ, peace is possible. There is strength in numbers, for sure. Thank-you so much for sharing.

  14. Your words ring so true. I lost my brother to glioblastoma just under 2 years ago… although it still seems like yesterday. I still wrestle with God over the how and why this could happen. My brother was 35 and his children were 9, 3 and 18 months when he passed away. His baby girl probably won’t even remember him when she gets older. It’s so incredibly hard to try and pick up the pieces and move forward, but without our hope in Christ, it would be impossible. Thank you for the reminder to trust Him… even when we don’t understand.

    1. Oh Jill!!! I can’t even think of any words to say to that…. While the untimely deaths of any parent is tragic, the younger the children, certainly the gap of their parenting presence is greater. I can’t even imagine. And I do believe that we would drive ourselves absolutely crazy trying to “make sense” of it – especially with our limited human minds. But, in Christ, we have a greater understanding, a greater hope, a greater promise and a greater peace. We don’t have to understand it, we just trust. We just trust that that cliche is true: His ways are higher than ours. I’m resting in that promise today. I will pray for your family, too. And, the more I hear from those who have battled glioblastoma, I PRAY FOR A CURE!!! Thank-you for sharing.

  15. So beautifully written! My husband was diagnosed with the same type of cancer and lost his battle after 2 years almost to the day from diagnosis. This brought back so many feelings, especially because of all the similarities. My daughter had graduated two months before Jim passed and my son Nate was 16 and Evan 11. My children are doing well, and though I’m sure they still struggle with feeling angry that their dad is gone, they are all kind loving empathetic people and I trust God will keep working in their lives.
    Thank you for your wonderful insight. I’m going to have my kids read this post.

    1. Wow – what an uncanny similar story to Heidi’s. I am hearing from so many people facing the ugly sin of glioblastoma. The enemy of our souls couldn’t be more evil than giving someone that diagnosis. We had never even heard about it until Heidi’s diagnosis. Thank-you for sharing your story – and the evidence that there is life on the other side of unspeakable loss. When the time is right, I hope to share all these responses with Heidi’s kids, too. There is some kind of holy strength in finding out that we are not alone in these times of greatest pain. Thank-you.

    2. Cindy, I’m a friend of Jodi’s (above) and couldn’t fight back the tears as I remembered their family’s battle and yours’. But, thank you for reminding me that our ways are not His ways, and there’s so much about “good” that we don’t know.

  16. Thank you CIndy for voicing such awesome thoughts. And to truly believe them.
    We mourn with you, your family and rejoice with Heidi in her deliverance from this life.

  17. What a beautiful lament and so well said. I am so sorry for your loss Cindy. May you and your family be held so tightly by God’s great love and comfort. I know first hand the heartache of loss and the “why’s” of this life. Many unanswered questions in this fallen and broken world. I can absolutely say, beyond a doubt, how faithful our God is and the true miracle of God’s goodness towards us in our loss and pain. May you be upheld as you cry your heart out for your great loss. Be assured, one day you will find joy in the precious memories of Heidi.

  18. We lost my stepdaughter to cervival cancer April of 2016. We lost my brother-in-law the following day. Your post didn’t speak to me, it shouted! Thank you. I’ve been trying so hard to reconcile a good God that would take so much. I’d forgotten that I don’t get to define good.

    1. Dear Becky – there is pain… and then there is PAIN. To lose two loved ones in two days…. unbelievable. And there isn’t an explanation. I guess that was the point of my blog in a nutshell: We don’t get to “get” God, we get to trust Him. Period. Maybe I didn’t have to write a whole long stupid blog after all!…. it’s simplified in that one sentence! Thank-you for sharing your story and for being a part of this band of believers who just keep going…. loving God and trusting Him amidst pain. Peace.

  19. thank you for voicing what so many feel. As my tears fall down my cheeks, I suddenly miss my momma so much. In two years we have lost our mom and two young nephews suddenly, tragically. It is hard to comprehend but I know that God makes us strong through adversity and so I know that this will help us in times to come. I pray for peace for your family.

  20. Dear Cindy, My sister died just a year ago and we just buried my brother after a long fight with 3 different kinds of cancer. The peace of God was so evident in his life. Life is NOT fair but God is ALWAYS good. I am so blessed by what you wrote. I pray all of you will experience that peace which passes understanding. We sorrow but we have HOPE. We will see our loved ones again.

    1. Dear Helen – Thank-you so much for sharing. Suffering in this life is a given, but the way we respond to it is dependent upon what we choose to believe. Do we believe God is punitive and we suffer for having too little faith? Do we believe God has favorites and some of us just get dealt more crap in this life than others? Or Do we believe God is truly good and can be trusted – even when we CAN NOT make sense of the chaos and pain in our lives? I have just GOT to believe the latter. Because, like you said, it is our only real HOPE. The peace that comes from Christ is all that we can hope for and all that we need. God loves me. And He is good. A-men.

  21. Cindy, you certainly are blessed with the gift of communicating and touching others. My husband, Greg, died four years ago, just before Christmas, from glioblastoma. He left me and my two daughters, ages 17 and 19. I felt like my world had ended. I couldn’t breathe. But I had to be strong for my girls. Life is still very hard and I often doubt God and his ways. I don’t understand. Why did this happen to Heidi and her family? It’s such a horrible way to watch a loved one die. But then you spoke of the Beatitudes, my favorite. I’m doing some thinking on this. Hoping to see a light. Heidi is happy in Heaven. Her family will struggle but you all have each other. Praying for all of you.

  22. God bless your precious family❣
    I instinctivly say this from my heart because I want to speak comfort over loved ones but this message has revealed the magnitude of God’s blessings and the vast expanse of God’s mercy and Grace.
    My beloved daughter age 52 also fought a valiant battle with glioblasto for 19 months. Leaving her solemate husband 1 day before their 23rd anniversary, Chad and 2 beautiful daughters, 19 and 21, her doting mother and father, 1 loving brother, a dear sister in law and 3 nephews she adored. She was devoted to the Lord and lived it every day. A 6th grade science teacber so loved by her students and friends. She sang like a mocking bird. Sooo loved…1500 friends attended her celebration of life.
    Can I say…a blessed life?? I have learned to look for blessings in the most simple things and all things give thanks.
    That’s not the end of the story of my “great sadness”…a year later almost to the day my dear brother, 74, died with Parkinson’s…now my BFF sister,67, is battleing multiple myeloma. Yes, I do sometimes ask why. As I study more about eternity I feel a calm assurance that all is well. We weren’t created to stay here forever…..”we’re just passing thru. But as a mom, it’s devastating to give up your child . This is always lurking in the dark cornerstones of yoiur mind and sadness revisits when you least expect it.
    Dear God, let us all continue to see your blessings and be a blessing to others.
    .

    1. Precious sister, Jean…. I’ve been trying to respond to all the people that posted on here sharing their own journeys of disease, health, loss of loved ones. But your story has left me speechless. That your daughter was so close in age to Heidi, that her husband was also named Chad, that she left two children (slightly older) and that you continued to be pummeled with sickness and loss with your brother and sister’s diseases. I cannot even come close to imagining that kind of pain and suffering. I’ve had to ask myself, would I still be able to say those words in my blog if the extent of my suffering had been greater? What if, like Job, ALL was taken from me? What if, EVERYONE we loved was stripped from us – and then our own health to boot? Would I then STILL be able to say God is good? Oh how I pray the answer is “yes”. Oh how I pray that, like Job, both you and I would still be able to be found faithful. Because we don’t get to tell God just how much suffering we can handle. We don’t get to tell him what is admissible and what isn’t. We don’t get to “get” God – we only get to TRUST Him. When I feel like that just isn’t enough, I have to ask myself, “But what else is there?” If I let go of that trust, I am left with nothing. Nothing at all. So I choose trust. I hope that someday there will be joy to follow this pain – but for now, to trust that I KNOW WHO HOLDS MY TOMORROWS and I KNOW WHO HOLDS ME will have to be enough. Peace to you and all your beloved family, Jean.

  23. Reblogged this on kathleenbduncan and commented:
    My friend Rene – who lost a son, daughter-in-Law, and four grandkids in a plane crash – posted this article on Facebook. I don’t know the author, but she is spot on.

    Please take time to read the whole article. It’s worth it.

  24. Thank you for posting your thoughts on what “good” is. This past year within 9-1/2 weeks our youngest son and then my husband entered Heaven. Through it all and still my focus has stayed on the One Who promised to not fail and through many years of His proven faithfulness I choose to not doubt Him now. He is still always good and is faithful at teaching me what “good” is.

  25. My husbands brother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma January 2015. He lived 18 months. He left behind a beautiful wife that he cherished and a son who was 10 and a little girl who was 7. He truly loved his family and it showed. He ❤️ My husband- his brother- his best friend. When we could see that they days were going fast we had to begin our goodbyes. I remember my husband telling me, we need to go. We need to say goodbye. We were carving pumpkins because it was October 30. We drove in silence to their home. My husband walked in the bedroom, knelt down by BJ’s bed and laid his head on his chest to listen to his ❤️ Beat. The tears came. The next morning we got the call the BJ was gone. It was Halloween. Bj and he kids favorite time of year. His beautiful wife and their 2 adorable kids dressed up and celebrated Daddy. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t question- God did you really need to take BJ so soon. Our faith was shook but we know that God is good. He knows best. But the pain is still very real for those left behind…

  26. I feel for you and your family. God bless you all and carry you in this time of great need. I do understand what those children are going through. I lost my daddy when I was 14 years old. I still miss him every day and we lost him in 1976. It does change you. I felt like I spent the next year in a fog… but I survived it, thanks to family and friends. I am still here, missing him. My mom is still here and she is 95 this year. I still love my God and I have a piece of me in heaven already and that just adds to my longing for Home. Someday… Maybe today… the Lord will come for us. Until then I trust his will in My life… even through trials I don’t understand. God bless you all.

  27. So sorry. I was touched by your story. I had an older sister that had lung cancer (after a number of treatments, there was nothing more the doctors could do) She left behind two children, both teenagers. It was very hard at first for her immediate family, leaving her loving husband and their kids behind. But I knew she was with the Lord and it was going to be OK. In time, we ALL healed and our lives went on. Today, her kids are two beautiful adults and they are doing good. Her husband has remarried and is doing fine. My other sisters and myself? We are living in different parts of the US, but doing good. God is with us every day, all the time. Praise,glory and honor be to HIM.

    1. Oh, UGH! I read that part about two teenagers, and it stung. It stings for me because Heidi left behind two teenagers as well. But I so, so, so appreciate you sharing this story of your sister – even though I’m sure it is still hard to recount the ugliness of her cancer and passing. Yet, by sharing, you show us that as time goes by, healing, restoration and redemption are REAL and very much POSSIBLE. I hope that my niece and nephew can catch a glimpse of that somehow even in these early, raw days. To look toward the future and imagine their adult life with families of their own seems almost impossible right now. The pain has almost caused us to be afraid to dream. Your story reminds us all that life goes on, and dreams do come true. And, of course, that God is, without a doubt, GOOD!!!! Thank-you.

  28. Thank you for these words that I know came from God. We have some family friends that lost a 2 yo this summer and now a baby that was born premature and is having some problems. The whole family is struggling with why this is happening to their family and where God is in all of this. I am passing this post on to them. Thank you. Praying for your family.

    1. When I wrote this, I honestly felt I was just speaking to myself – these were the only thoughts that seemed to help in any way. The idea that God blesses us, indeed, but simply has an entirely different definition of the words “blessed” and “blessing” than we do. Before putting this on my blog, and risking that scary moment of “going public”, I thought, “If even ONE other person finds some comfort in this crazy new thought I have, then it will be worth putting on the blog.” I hope that these meager words in some way are able to help your friends process their grief.

  29. I believe their is a God, he is using you, to pour out your heartfelt words to comfort others. To show that even in times of mourning, suffering and sadness, it’s a gentle reminder that HE is in control. In your own grief, you still take time to share your feelings, to respond, give feedback and be a support to others who may, or may not know you. You are a vessel of spirit filled words, even if in a small dose, allowing others to feel a sense of good. We may not understand his doing, it is not for us to understand right now, we are all on borrowed time, however, he is with us every step of the way, never leaving our side, even in the darkest of times, he is carrying us when we feel the weakest and don’t know how we walked through those times. My prayers are for anyone who has lost a loved one, the circle of life can be unfair, cruel and leave us brokenhearted. Know we will all be reunited again one day, this is the Lord’s promise to those who believe and accept Jesus as their personal savior. Believe in him and reap the rewards he has promised of eternal life, no pain, no suffering, the glories of a beautiful place to call home with the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords. Reuniting with our loved ones.

    John 16:22
    Therefore, you too will have grief now; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you.

    This scripture speaks volumes. His promise that though we may grieve now, he promises we will one day we will rejoice again and NOBODY will ever take that joy away. We are only on this earth a short time, compared to the eternal life we are promised in heaven, with the promise of eternal happiness, peace, love, beauty and all things good. (((HUGS))) to you all as you struggle, my thoughts are with you.

    1. Thank-you so much, Jennifer! For those of us (obviously you, too!) who find words to be our jam and best expression of ourselves, it was the only thing I knew to do when the emotions of my sister’s passing had just totally run amok. I couldn’t sort it out in my head, or by talking to others, or even by reading scriptures. Nothing made sense. So I just started writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote – most of it was crap. But then this theme came out, that is so typically dismissed as cliche – that God’s ways are higher than ours. I knew (know) that to be true, but couldn’t quite find a more tangible way to accept that. Until I started writing about God’s words even having different meaning than our words. Suddenly, it hit me – perhaps, our humanness just limits us in understanding even the very words that define God. We simply CANNOT define Him! He is good. We know that. But what does HE define good as????? Oh my, my mind is going again….. Thank-you for sharing that beautiful scripture from John. Such an important promise that joy WILL come again and that grief shall NOT overcome us, because we are MORE than overcomers in Christ Jesus!!! Bless you!!!

  30. I read this and my heart pounded…..realizing I’ve gone through exactly the same thoughts as we lost our son in law last year, Jan.24th. He was a first responder to avalanche control at Squaw Valley. Left behind is his beautiful 2 year old son and a beautiful wife, my daughter…. yes…I asked all those same questions not always finding an answer, but have been wrestling with God over this circumstance…
    She waited for the ‘right man’ and her dream came true…married only three short years…. and then this….
    Lots of tears and pain as we have walked through this past year. I would never of chosen this path for her. But we are here now….and I love those verses of encouragement at the end….Blessed Be….Thank you.
    So many are in this journey of grief…and let us be there to comfort the next family.
    Thank you again for this encouraging, yet real and raw post. Met all my emotions.
    It’s made me alive again that it’s ok to have these feelings.

    1. Oh my goodness, dear Marg! I cannot even imagine that kind of heartache. But, like you said, here we are…. this is our new reality. And somehow, some way, each day, we have to get out of bed, slip into our clothes, step outside the door and go on in this life – while our precious departed loved one is no longer there. And somehow, some way, we get the strength to do just that – we go on. It can only come from Christ. And that is why we cannot let go of the only hope that is ours in Christ. He is our strength and hope, in both life and death. Some days it doesn’t feel like enough, but still, we know it is. Thank-you for sharing.

  31. I breathed in the truth in your words and how our God must be a “just” God. Too often we try to skim over the “just” God by saying “ you don’t understand his ways”….and we don’t have to…cause God is good all the time. Even in death that comes way too early. And you hit it with a perspective that I haven’t considered. Good!!!

    Good is a loving God that doesn’t dispense “our miracles”
    On how “good” you think someone is
    Good is a loving and just God that doesn’t sprinkle fairy dust
    Of healing to our satisfaction

    Our God allows the world to be the world…for if he intercedes too much….. then our definition of our “Good God” is not based on love but on manipulation. And our Love for Him can only be true if it is based on truth, and goodness, and worthiness.

  32. Thank you for your reflections and responding to individuals who have been touched by different losses. My heart aches for those who have walked this road filled with pain. Our neighbor lost her husband to cancer….leaving behind his wife and a 7 year old son and a daughter in college.

    My pain is found in the loss of two daughters whose marriages have dissolved. One daughter’s husband went to prison, and because of his dealings, she lost her home and car. The other daughter has “come out”….again….and her divorce which was final about three years ago, has now found her engaged to her partner with a pending marriage in May 2018.

    Pain takes so many forms. Is it fair to say we are grieving for what should have been? How blessed we are though to have two lovely grandsons that make our world spin with delight.

    Keep posting reflections. They touch many lives…..for the better. Your words enrich the lives of those with broken hearts.

    Two thoughts come to mind as I close:
    One is the scripture that references that the good we see here on Earth can in no way, compare to the joy we will experience in Heaven.

    The other is Jesus experienced all of the pain that we as man (and woman) can ever experience….the sadness, the bitterness, the loneliness, the temptations………He knows everything we feel, see, think, cry, and live.

    Thanks again,
    garry

  33. Cindy,
    A FB acquaintance posted your blog recently and I just read it. Your story is all too familiar with my family. In fact, this past Saturday (1/13/18) was the seven year mark of our discovering of my wife Nancy’s glioblastoma. Probably like you or at least many of Heidi’s friends they had never even heard the word before either. Nancy was one of those unique people often envied for exceptional health. For example she completed all 12 years of school without missing a single day. She went to college on a basketball scholarship and later became a career health & physical education teacher for thirty years. We had 165 days from diagnosis-to-death and at the time could not comprehend what the doctor meant when he’d say he was “trying to buy us more time.”

    I’m a pastor and have held the hand of many, many people over the years as they gently made their transition from this life into that of eternity. Even in my best faith and cerebral understanding of what was happening I could not wrap my mind around Nancy leaving us. She did though. She was surrounded by forty immediate family members including our three adult daughters, their husbands, and four (now seven) grandchildren. The community participation in her send off was unsurpassed with attendance and love. I’m a blessed man in so many ways. Nancy and I dated for two and a half years and then were married for thirty-two and a half more.

    I didn’t plan to write a book but I was writing a regular post in the CaringBridge site. At her funeral visitation I was asked by nearly a dozen individuals if I was going to publish what I wrote. After more consideration and counsel from friends I agreed to publish it. My aim here is not to sell you or anyone a book. In fact, we set up a scholarship in her memory and have awarded students furthering their education with money each year since her passing. However, if you have a friend or family member that might benefit from reading the different Scriptures I used in helping cope with a difficult life crisis the title is: This Story Is Far From Over and it is available on Amazon. It actually won a Christian Book Writer’s award in the marriage category.

    Regardless of whether or not you get the book, I will continue to pray for Heidi’s husband, her children, as well as you and the rest of her family. It’s surely a difficult journey but like ours, because of Jesus Christ This Story Is Far From Over.

  34. Hi Cindy and Paul, We send our sincere Christian sympathy. Cindy, I read your thoughts on Heidi’s illness and death. Thank you for posting them. You are an excellent writer! I’m sure that God will use your words for His glory. Psalm 116 : 15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This verse has always meant a lot to me, and I’ve been thinking of it often lately with the deaths of my Father and Lorraine. God bless your family!

  35. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. My Mum had glioblastoma multiforme and entered heaven’s gates a mere 5 months after diagnosis at age 59. Although it was excruciating watching her suffer, the peace of God was upon her through her suffering. It is something I will never ever forget. As I worked through PTSD afterwards I was so blessed by God’s nearness and His revelations to me from His Word as I pressed into Him in my utter despair and helplessness. I couldn’t agree more with this line of yours: “ESPECIALLY, oh especially when we Christians suggest it is the LACK of faith that produces suffering in this life are we guilty of serious theological malpractice!”

    May God comtinue to reveal His Presence to you all as you walk through this all. May His comfort and hope sustain you. His Promises surround and protect you as you grieve.

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