I got the call to "come down now" early on Thursday morning. I had a feeling the news was not good. My sister-in-law Sherri had been taken to the emergency room several days prior to that, and was having a heartbreaking struggle just to breathe.
Sherri had fought breast cancer which was diagnosed six years ago. Following an extensive chemotherapy schedule of treatment, at the end of five years she was given the "Congratulations, you are cancer free" pronouncement. We all celebrated with her upon hearing her good news.
It probably wasn't more than a month later that she discovered a new lump. The cancer had apparently metastasized to other areas of her body, making itself known by several lumps.
Again, various regimens of treatment were pursued and applied. The lumps, one in particular, over time deteriorated her ability to breathe comfortably. In the end, her loved ones suffered along with her as they watched her suffer.
It is a solemn and humbling experience to be with a loved one as she passes on from this world to the next. From a momentary home here on this earth, to another eternal home. We think we have so much time, but in reality, what do we really know?
Sherri suffered and died from cancer, a disease that just seems to ravage so many, and leave so many saddened family members behind.
Her husband, my brother Chris, told me moments after she died that he just thought they had more time.
Her twelve year old son, Luke, will have to eventually process and come to grips with the reality that his mom won't be coming back.
I will miss Sherri, and I will grieve for my brother as he misses his wife. I will grieve for my parents for having to watch their youngest child experience such lost. I will grieve for Luke, who will not be able to share some of his life's biggest moments with his mother.
I will pray that those with the resources and knowledge can soon find a cure for this vicious disease, a killer that takes away too many loved ones way too soon.
And I will give thanksgiving that in the end, there is hope. I believe there is a forever and ever life available to those who have put their faith in the only one who has ever defeated death, Jesus Christ.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) Sherri believed this to be true.
That is my comfort.