Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Counting Blessings

We have very good friends who are going through a very difficult time right now. Sometimes in life, we get thrown together with people who normally wouldn't be part of our social sphere at all and that's the case with these friends. They are much older than we are and again, our lifestyles are very different but they have taken on an important place in our lives.

Sadly, it looks like the husband of this couple is dying. About 7 weeks ago, he got a bad upper respiratory virus and just couldn't shake it. After several doses of medication and inhalers and steroids, he just didn't get better. The Tuesday before Easter, his wife took him to emergency and on Wednesday, they pumped 3 pints of blood out of his right lung. After several tests, it has come to light that he has malignant cancer in one lung and cancer in his kidney, liver, spine and the other lung (while they haven't gotten results that say that the cancer is malignant in those other spots, the doctor has said that it is almost inevitable). He has been given between 3 weeks and 3 months and given how quickly he is deteriorating, I suspect it won't be long (and I pray that it will be with as little suffering as possible).

It is such a difficult thing to watch. The wife, who, it must be said, is my closer of the friends, is beside herself. Six weeks ago, they were planning vacations, setting goals and moving forward with life. In a short time, all of that has fallen apart. She is trying to hold it together but it is torture to watch this confident, capable, private man in a position of being weak and unable to care for himself. They are both very independent and having to navigate the health care system is making them both feel very helpless. I wish that I could do something but other than taking up some food to make sure she is eating and offering to help with the farm and dog sitting, there really isn't that much we can do.

At first, I was just shocked and sad, the way that one normally is in a situation like this. Over the last several days, it has really hit me how much my friend's life will change being the one left behind. There are many things that her husband has done for years and he won't be around anymore. He is a gifted chef and his barbecued standing rib roast is the most delicious way to eat beef that I have ever encountered. We won't have our evenings of cards and food. As a couple, they went on a boat trip every summer, they have a lovely farm where they lease the land out to a neighbouring farmer but they have a barn with a few animals, a pond and views that you wouldn't believe. The husband does a lot of the specialized jobs that go with a property of such a size. I don't know that my friend will be able to manage there on her own for very long. There was the annual Christmas tree cutting party that he did so much to organize and the golf days. They have truly worked out a way of living together that makes both of them happy. It is so hard to imagine that couple without one half.

It may sound a bit trite but it really has me thinking about how there are no guarantees in life and that we (I) need to appreciate every day that we are given as the gift that it is. My husband does so much to make my life easier and there are so many small pleasures that I would miss so much if he were no longer to be part of my life. Life is so busy that there are days that it feels like we are just briefly passing each other without connecting at all. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that everything we have could so easily be gone.

Please pray for my friend and her husband. Pray that she will know that she is not alone and that she will find what comfort there is in this difficult time. Pray that her husband will take his journey with as little pain as is possible in this situation and that he can find peace in his last days of life. Pray for their family which is having to face this horrible loss. Thank God for your blessings and cherish every moment. That is certainly my plan.


  1. This is beautifully written...I will be praying for them.

  2. So sorry to hear this news Sarah, I'm praying for them right now... may His love fill their hearts and give them comfort and peace.

  3. Sorry to hear that. :( I will pray!

  4. Oh, no. I was hoping as I started to read that this was not A&M, knowing how important they are to you, but I see that it is. I am so, so sorry to hear this news. That's a terrible loss for her, and for you two. I know she'll be lucky to have you as she moves through this really tough time now and to come. Please tell me if there's anything I can do for you while you do for her, okay?

  5. Thanks, everybody. It's nice to know that everyone is thinking about them. Sadly, there's not much we can do. I am hoping that we can really step in and give her the support once he passes - I think that will be when it really hits her. It's funny how it is so often the case that we find the strength to get through the awful things when they happen, it's after the fact that we fall apart. Kittenpie, thanks for being such a great support!