This weekend I was able to spend a nice time away at our church's ladies retreat with my Mom (and Baby Boy who was so good!). Our speaker was lighthearted and encouraging and the topic was "Life Changes" learning from the book of Ruth. We were challenged, we shopped, had fun with friends, and laughed enough to bring tears. However, at times our emotions were so mixed and thoughts were heavy as my Mom's cousin Jean, who I mentioned last summer here, had been taken to a hospice a day earlier. I haven't mentioned this for awhile but Jean has been struggling in her battle with cancer since last fall. For awhile we thought she was doing so well but then she started to get weaker and they needed to stop chemo, in order to build up her strength. She didn't ever feel like eating as she was nauseous all of the time. How she longed to be worshipping with us at church but coming, often completely wore her out. Then the headaches began and a month or so ago they found that the cancer had spread to her brain. Jean continued to rest in God's perfect plan for her life and was making a list of things she wanted to do in her time left with her family, even as we prayed for a miracle.
Last week was a difficult one and things turned, with Jean suffering more with seizures and such and being taken to the hospital, from there to be sent to a hospice center. Saturday evening emotions at the retreat were very mixed. We had found out that they could no longer find Jean's pulse and that it wouldn't be much longer. Our hearts ached with that realization and for her husband, daughter, mother, and other family who were at her side. Her 84 year old mother had been selflessly taking care of Jean for the past months and I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to watch her daughter suffer so. Aunt Dorothy is an amazing and giving woman, never thinking of herself!
The theme song for this weekend was "God Makes No Mistakes" and it was so difficult to sing that song without breaking down. Oh, I know without a doubt that it is true, but painful to think about none-the-less. Later that evening we cut into our session as news came that Jean had gone home to be with her Savior. Praise the Lord that she no longer suffers, but what a hole we have here on earth. I was thankful to be with my Mom and good friends and the church body of ladies as we all brought comfort to each other and had a time of singing and prayer.
Jean had told her good friend a week earlier that she didn't want any of us crying for her and we tried our best. I kept thinking back to a year ago at ladies retreat right before Jean was diagnosed with cancer. She was in a lot of pain at that time but wouldn't miss the retreat. I remember clearly as we went out for ice cream and a bunch of us squeezed into a tiny booth and I sat across from Jean who was joking at the goofy names of the ice cream sundaes and eating much more than we were hungry for. She joked and laughed and was full of life, talking about a new grandchild about to be born and how she was planning on being at the birth. I can't believe that now a year later we are at this point. This will be a difficult week. I am so thankful for the future hope I have because of Christ and the fact that I know that I will see her again someday. Just one more person in heaven that I long to see.