Tonight there is a new resident in heaven. Bittersweet. I find comfort in hearing she didn't appear to be in pain. Knowing that she was surrounded by some of the people who love her most. And in knowing that the whole process was relatively quick. I mean, as far as life being taken by cancer goes.
But my heart grieves for her family left behind. Like it's breaking in two. And for all those who love her. And as tears slide down my cheeks, I wonder at how God's perfect plan allowed me to get to know her.
I remember back when I didn't even know her name. But we often sat behind her and her family in church. One Sunday she turned around and told us that she just loved sitting in front of us because she loved to hear our voices as we sang. Now, as singing voices go, I was in the high school choir, but my sister is the one that always got the compliments. Mine is more of an extra voice to tentatively add to many others. Except in Ellen's opinion. She loved to hear us sing.
Then a year ago, we were approached about starting a multigenerational small group. We said okay. But I was never envisioning a couple in their 70's and another in their 80's. That was a bit more multigenerational than I was thinking. God had another plan though. Through this small group, I got to know Ellen and her family. I got to hear the wisdom from all these other couples with more life experience that me. And I realized what a gift the group was. When space opened up in a small group filled only with families of young children, I wasn't even interested in switching. How far I'd come.
Then just a couple short weeks ago, we heard the news: the cancer was back and it looked bad. I was blessed with the opportunity to stop by last Thursday to chat for a few minutes and drop off some brightly colored flowers. Her outlook was so cheery. She was happy to report hospice would start the next day and she felt really good about that decision. Part of me wanted to believe hospice would help her hold on a bit longer, comfortably. But most of me didn't really see how that was possible.
A year ago when I heard that two of the women in our small group were battling cancer and their husbands would need support when the battles ended, I didn't see how I would have time for such a group as a young mom. Now, I feel so fortunate to have been given the blessing of knowing Ellen. I'm humbled knowing that she really enjoying being in a small group with me. And I will do whatever I can to support her family in spite of being a busy young mom.
Oh, how God has worked on my heart this past year without me even realizing it. And I know it will continue. I'm thankful for the lessons learned when I'm open to what God has planned rather than just my own agenda.