Today, I learned a dear friend passed away last night, in his sleep. It was upsetting to hear. Truly, it always is, because I never expect death. Does anyone? Even when I know that someone is very ill, or facing a terminal illness I never expect death.
On Wednesday, my older sister had shared that she was facing a serious health problem. She was texting me to tell me she was going to the doctor’s office. She said she was going in to do some more blood work. She said she had something to tell me. And she wanted me to hear it from her, and not anyone else. It seems her doctor had told her she had blocked arteries. She had a 95% blockage and was at imminent risk for a fatal heart attack. She also mentioned she had an appointment with the heart specialist the next day to get the results of all the testing she had done. She had no idea my younger sister had already informed me of her health status. Even hearing it from her I found it difficult to believe.
My sister is 79 years old. She’s set in her ways. With this kind of news, she wanted to tell her siblings, in person, or by phone, but not on Facebook, or via text. She shared this, first with my younger sister. And from what my younger sister told me, she had been facing this illness for a few weeks, and big sis wasn’t sure when she wanted to share the news. Needless to say, the burden was too much for my little sister. She had a difficult time processing the news.
The reason my little sister shared the news with me, was because I had been texting her about my husband and I possibly taking a trip in November. Well, then she called me up to tell me the news about my sister. And suggested I take her condition into consideration before taking an extended trip. I could sense she was seriously worried. She was convinced that my sister could die any moment. I told her, anyone of us could die – at any moment. I have to admit I had a hard time believing that my older sister had a heart condition. I told her as much – that it could not be right. My sister goes to the doctor, all the time, for any little ache. She has regular exams. She always says that if she dies from any illness, it won’t be because she didn’t go to the doctor.
It didn’t much matter what anyone believed. The news left my sister quite unsettled for a few weeks. I started praying for her and her situation. At the same time, I was trying to deal with two of my daughters that were going at each other. They have a fallout every now and then, but they get over. Well, they are still not over it.
I went to bed that night, confused, not sure what to do about anything. I confessed I had no control. My daughters are grown women. They stopped listening to me long ago. My sister, I could do nothing to help her. She finds her strength, her anchor in my little sister. And that’s OK, I confessed to my husband. I acknowledged my helplessness. He was being very supportive. He listened and agreed that my loved ones’ situations were better left at the cross. I was talking, crying and praying. Afterwards, a peace came over me.
I know that God has all things in His control. Life and death are at His command.
Job 1:21 (NKJV)
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Well, turns out the next day. My little sister was taking our older sister to the doctor to get the results. I forgot the gist of the conversation but my little sis said the elder was OK with my tagging along for support. So, I went along.
My little sister was convinced that the news could go either way. I was convinced there was only one way the news could go – and that’s according to God’s will. Either way our older sister did not want any sort of treatment. She was not afraid to die. I left it in God’s hands.
We get the results from the doctor. All the tests revealed that there was some blockage, but in the doctor’s world, my sister was not in any imminent danger. Her condition was rather mild compared to some of his other patients, he said. So he advised her to keep taking her meds to maintain her health. Clearly, it was not her turn to go home.
Well, I had been praying about my friend’s health. I prayed for him, for his recovery. He too was up in years and he had congestive heart failure, was on kidney dialysis and had recently been released from the hospital where he had been treated for an infection. He was in rough shape, but the last time I spoke with him, he was sounding really good, frustrated, but good.
The last month, I had been busy with a couple of fundraisers, so I hadn’t had time to catch up with him. So, he was on my mind quite a bit. I just kept praying for him. I was going to call him Saturday, but I forgot. He went to be with the Lord later that day.
I was upset to hear of his passing. He was a stubborn man. He didn’t like to reach out for help. I called his son to give my condolences, and he told me that he was him that night. He was there to make sure he was eating and taking his meds. He had taken a fall a few days ago. He was still trying to recover from a fall back in July. He had been out of rehab maybe 45 days.
Death came near. It couldn’t take my sister, but it had to take someone, so it took my dear friend.
For me, it’s about how I hear the news about a dear friend passing. Last time, my sister read about my friend’s passing on Facebook and she called me for more details. I had no clue.
This time, I got a call from my sister. She got a call from a mutual friend, who got a call from her ex, who got a call from his son, who was the stepson of my friend.
Busy, busy, busy. That’s what we are… friends and family take a number. I have to remember that my life is not just about me. I have to remember to take the time to stop and call a friend, call a sibling, check up on others. Life may not be so short, but when death comes – suddenly – life was but a moment.
1 Samuel 2:2 (NKJV)
“No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.