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