True Comfort

Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lamb.     Isaiah 40:11

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy sister-in-law, Kathy, is on hospice care. My husband, John, went to Maryland to see her and say goodbye, while I stayed behind in New Hampshire to be with our kids. John sent the text last night that Kathy didn’t have much time.

I wanted to shield my kids from it all, just sneak away, and cry. But I knew I had a responsibility: I had to role model that, at a time like this, faith is more important than ever.

My kids have known about their Auntie Kathy’s lung cancer for a while. They have been making and sending her cards since we told them. I was trying to prepare them, in stages. But you can never truly prepare kids, or anyone, for such a great loss.

My mom has always taught us the importance of the three prayers  to be said for someone who is dying. I believe kids’ prayers have more impact than ours. Jesus Himself said that kids’ hearts are far more pure than adults’. So, despite my kids not really being ready for it, we knelt down and prayed the three prayers together for Kathy.

We had to stop several times as my kids fell apart and cried. When we were finished, I explained that, as believers, we could be okay with letting Auntie Kathy go because she was going to God. I explained that it was hurting us to see her go, but she was going to leave behind the body that was hurting her. Once she was with God, she would be free of pain, and happy again.

The boys found some peace in that because they’re ten and twelve years old and could understand. But Jocelyn, who is only six, wouldn’t stop sobbing, no matter what I said. I finally latched onto Christmas, emphasizing the presents she was going to get, thinking that would cheer her up.

Her response was, “I love Auntie Kathy more than I love presents.” When I told her how sweet that was, she said, between sobs, “I’m not saying it to be sweet. I’m saying it because it’s true.”

Having exhausted all my options, I carried her upstairs and helped her get ready for bed. She still couldn’t stop crying. Once I tucked her in, I crawled in with her. I gathered her in my arms, and held her until she fell asleep, at peace at last.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. After the doctors exhausted all of their options to save Kathy, He’s the one who has gathered her to Him, like a lamb. It is He who is holding her, and comforting her, until she falls asleep. Then she too will be at peace at last.

We love you Kathy!

Questions For Reflection:

     * Is there someone in my life who is battling a life threatening disease?

     * Are my kids’ old enough to understand what is happening?

     * If so, have I role modeled for them how important faith is in the dying process?   

12 thoughts on “True Comfort

  1. God bless you, Claire. I also know too well how this feels and how it impacts a family. I am so pleased to know you were Jocelyn’s Shepard that night. You allowed her to rest where she finds comfort; in her mothers arms.


  2. Claire, God bless you for saying those prayers with your kids. I know that couldn’t be easy
    Sometimes it is impossible to shield them from hurt and reality. Your kids are blessed to have you and to see your faith. It was the most beautiful way to explain about Kathy. They will miss her but you make them see that praying for her is something they can do to show their love for her. My heart goes out to John, his family and all of you. xo


  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it’s great that you didn’t try to shield the kids and that they were able to pray for her and understand what is happening. It’s part of life and God is answering all of our prayers in taking Kathy to a pain free, peaceful place. So sweet that you had that tender moment with Jocelyn. Those are the times we and they will always remember.


    • I guess saying those prayers did help them adjust in stages. When I told them last night that Kathy did pass away, and is at peace, they took it fairly well. Mason’s response was to send his guardian angel to her to give her a hug.


  4. Claire, what a beautiful image! My mom gave me a copy of the three prayers too (I’m sure they are the same). So sorry for your loss. Kathy and all of you are in our prayers.


  5. Claire, we are so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister-in-law. Please let John know that we will continue to pray for Kathy and also for your family, that God will give all of you comfort, strength and healing. God bless…especially little Jocelyn XOXO


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