Another friend is dying. I remember my dad telling me, “It seems like everyone I love is dying,” and he was younger than I am now. Linda is only 56 and that is too young. Her children and grandchildren still need her.
I first knew Linda as a relatively new mother, struggling to get two toddlers to church. At that time she had no spiritual support from her husband. Her mother was a gem, a true saint of our congregation, who died only five years ago. Linda’s father lived a couple more years, and it seems highly unfair that this daughter who cared for them so sweetly would not live at least as long as they did. But we all know life is not fair–nor is death.
Daryl, her husband, for many years has been her faithful companion—helping, listening, interpreting, running interference, giving moral and spiritual support. He isn’t in good health, either, having had open heart surgery and knee replacement during the eleven years Linda has fought ovarian cancer.
In 1998, Linda wrote in a journal passed among our sisters, “If anyone would have told me eight weeks ago what I would be doing tonight, I might have been as doubtful as Abraham’s Sarah. I probably would have laughed! When I finish this journal entry and my tea, I will be having a Bible study for the first time with my best friend and husband, and he suggested it! God really does work in mysterious ways!”
Linda called yesterday morning from her hospital room in tears over a doctor’s words. This woman reprimanded Linda for requesting blood transfusions and physical therapy, saying that Linda needed to decide if she wanted to waste time and resources in the hospital or go home to be with her family for her last days. She is not one of Linda’s regular doctors and obviously doesn’t know what a fighter Linda is. Then she offered to pray with Linda, and Linda thought things were looking up. But the woman addressed her prayer to Allah, and Linda, who has had many challenges with a Muslim son-in-law, was appalled.
Eleven years of doctors and chemo and complications have depleted their meager funds, but Christian friends have filled the gap. This time the contributions are for her “end of earthly life” arrangements, and she is immeasurably relieved that Daryl won’t have that burden. Friends from nearby to hundreds of miles away responded generously when they knew of the need.
More and more, I see that there is no discounting the power of prayer and Linda’s determination. Another doctor later yesterday said Linda might still have months. Linda asked me, “Where is that luncheon on April 30?”
I had feared Linda had a reservation elsewhere, but perhaps not. I think I’d better get in those luncheon reservations.