Last night just after 9 p.m., my mom received a call. The call informed us of my Oma’s passing. Yesterday marked her 25th day at the Olathe Hospice House. She’d been placed there after receiving a brain cancer diagnosis. Before cancer appeared, she’d suffered through two strokes, three UTIs, three cases of pneumonia, multiple seizures and hospital visits. To speak truthfully, the past 11 months have put our family through a great deal of suffering. We’ve been living in a suspenseful movie that’s kept us on the edge of our seats, just waiting for the Lord to take her into His eternal embrace. Although she’s physically been with us, we lost a big part of her last April when the strokes robbed us of her voice. I can now say that you’ll never appreciate the sound of someone’s voice until they can no longer talk.
Even though we knew since April that this outcome was inevitable, the initial shock of the news deeply affected us. The news traveled through a chain: my Opa told my mom, my mom told me and then contacted my dad, and I told my sister. I remember seeing my sister’s face change when she saw my watery eyes and tear-stained cheeks. I held her in my arms and reassured her that Oma was with her Creator in a much better place. There was no more pain, suffering or poor quality of life. She has a front seat in Heaven where she’ll watch over us for the rest of our lives.
Before the conclusion of her earthly life, we’d started to think about the flow of her funeral. Now that she’s on her way to being cremated, everything is fast-tracked. Due to my creative aptitude, I created the photo-boards and a slideshow to display the beauty, adventure and love that exemplified her life. Looking through albums made me appreciate the woman I aspire to be. She had wonderful qualities that set her a part from others, but one quality shined more brightly up until the end: her strength. She was a fighter. She fought to stay with us for as long as she possibly could. She defied all odds when she lasted 25 days in hospice. Even the nurses were amazed by her strength. In my mind, she wasn’t fighting for her life, she was fighting to stay with the people she loved.
What’s been comforting me during this time is prayer. Last night before I went to bed, I knelt by my bed and spoke these words:
Dear Lord, thank you for ending my Oma’s suffering by welcoming her into your eternal embrace. Please reign down on our family with your unending consolation, love and strength. Wrap your arms around us and soak us in your grace. Make it clear to each member of our family that life will continue and that the pain in our hearts will heal over time. Lord I do not blame you for I know that everything you do is for a reason. Please bring our family closer together during this time of sorrow as we mourn the loss of a loved one. In your glorious name I pray. Amen.