When tragedy strikes, the shock changes you. You can’t help but feel “why me?” You wonder why things didn’t go the way you had planned. We all go through it at sometime during our lives. To some a tragedy strikes at a young age. For others, it might take until you’re 20 or 30 years old. For still others, it waits until you’re almost old enough to retire.
My brother John is going through such a personal shock right now. He’s sailed through his life with little conflict. He has an Ivy League education. He’s done important research in his job. He’s never suffered unemployment. He’s never been seriously sick. He’s enjoyed a long happy marriage. He’s watched his three children grow up and find happy, successful lives. But just recently he felt the first, true, personal earthquake. His wife of over 30 years was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. I can imagine what the words of the diagnosis did to both him. I’ve been there.
I’m sure my brother will keep his heartbreak inside. I’m sure he is a rock for Wendy. I’m sure he’ll support her, no matter what she has to face. I’m sure he might be scared that this disease has the possibility of separating them forever. He’ll cry in private. He’ll never speak of his impotency to change the situation. After all, there are no words. I’ve been there.
But I also know John and Wendy are surrounded by close friends who want to help. Living in California, so far away from their blood relatives, they have acquired a new family through their church activities. These people will be their saving grace. The right people will step forward and walk the journey with them. They will get what they need at the time they need it. God will see to it. And whatever is needed will be fulfilled by another person. I know. I’ve been there.
So even though I can’t be with my dear brother and my sister-in-law because of the vast distance that separates us, I know in my heart that they will be all right. I know that no matter what happens, life will go on. The sun will come up every morning and set every evening. They will learn to take a day at a time and enjoy what they can together. They’ll probably cry in each other’s arms, but I also know they will find a way to laugh again. They will strengthen each other. I’ve been there.
Watching a spouse deal with surgery, life-threaten complications of that surgery, and the devastating effects of chemotherapy is a tough road. Ken and I were lucky to have come out of the positive side of this journey over 10 years ago. And now, I pray for that same miracle for Wendy and for John who is standing by.
If you have a minute, send a prayer my brother’s way. Okay?