There were hundreds of strangers that quickly became a source of comfort as I greeted them coming through the receiving line. Some faces were familiar. Some where faces I knew long ago. I was surrounded by many family members on either side of me. There was a long line of a husband, a mother, children, brothers and their wives, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.. A few feet away was my sister-in-law who looked so peaceful now that she was with her Master.
He called her home long before we wanted to let her go, but His timing is perfect and His will is just. That doesn’t mean we didn’t all shed tears of sorrow. We didn’t want her to leave us, but now she is in a perfect place and she has no more pain.
She fought a long, hard battle against cancer. A fight for her life. A life that she wanted to continue. She wanted to attend her children’s weddings. She wanted to be there for the birthday parties of her grandchildren. She wanted to grow old with her dedicated husband. But it was not meant to be. She tried to make the best all of the moments that she was able to share with her family.
Cathy was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer seven years ago. The doctors told her that she would have to give up the job that she worked so hard to pursue. She was a RN in labor and delivery at the local hospital. She went back to school later in life when her kids were older and earned a degree in Nursing.
We all have good memories of Cathy. I know that she touched the lives of many in a positive way. She was a Christian. She continued to go to her church even on the bad days when she did not feel like going. But she was loyal to her Lord and Savior.
She had the blessing of a devoted caregiver in her husband of thirty years. When it was time for chemo treatments in another state, he would take time off from work and drive her to her appointments. When he did have to go to work he would call her throughout the day just to make sure she was okay and to show his love and dedication. He spent many, many nights in the hospital and Hospice House without ever going home. He was always by her side.
He was not her only loving caregiver. Her mother who has health issues of her own did as much as she could. She went many times on the trips for the chemo treatments. She helped with much of the paperwork and insurance filings. She spent much of her time at doctor’s appointments and in the hospital with her. She enjoyed spending time helping with her baby girl.
Her daughter was a loyal caregiver who helped in so many ways. She and her family spent much time at Cathy’s house to help and show their love. She was also blessed with three sons and their families who helped and loved her very much. Her four brothers and their wives would make visits and phone calls to spend time with her. She was a special lady.
As I struggle in my own battles with Interstitial Cystitis; Fibromyalgia; IBS; Pelvic Floor Dysfunction; Vuvodynia; Restless Leg, Insomnia, etc. I could relate to some of the pain, nausea and pure exhaustion that Cathy experienced. We became closer through our trials and I am so glad I got to know her better over the last few years.
I’m in a battle in my own life. I picture a race in my mind with encouraging spectators. I am running toward Jesus and I try to keep my eyes on the Lord. There are so many obstacles in the way….fear, selfishness, lack of focus and just plain ole feeling sorry for myself. In this race I can see Isiah, Abraham and Moses on the sides cheering me on to the finish.
Now when I look up into the stands of this race arena, I see Cathy telling me not to give up but to keep my eyes on Jesus. She is telling me to run the race with endurance and I too will receive my heavenly rewards.