My friend Terry lost her husband yesterday. It is the first Corona death of someone I know. I have heard that by the time it is over, we will all know someone who has died from it. I know several who have battled this foe. Some of them are in ICU to receive critical care, others are at home trying to recover from this terrible disease. None of them are elderly. None of them are compromised. All of them are struggling to breathe.
My heart is breaking for my friend. I met Terry because we are both writers. As part of a literary community who have contributed to Two Drops of Ink, we are connected creatively. When you write and offer up critique to other authors, it bonds you. When you encourage one another’s stories, you recognize parts of your own. Though we have never met in person, we quickly found we are kindred spirits. In many ways, our lives have run a parallel course.
On April 2nd Terry asked for prayer for her husband Bill (Yes, even our husbands’ names are the same!). He is an RN and he was not feeling well. High fever. Cough. Over the course of the next two weeks, each update became more concerning. And even though his first Covid tests came back negative, it was obvious he had the disease. His lungs filled, and his medical team was taking each step needed to keep him alive. Before long, the ventilator was working overtime to try to keep him breathing, and the prayer warriors were working just as hard.
Terry was full of faith, but stuck at home watching from a distance. The ride was a rollercoaster. Good report. Bad report. Back and forth the news would go, but as things progressed each day, the disease gained ground creating a critical situation in a very short time. Yesterday, when I read the latest report my eyes filled with tears when I read these words.
When I spoke to Bill via FaceTime, although he was in a semi-coma. I told him that I desperately wanted him to come home to me. But I also could see how very, very tired he looked, even in a semi-coma. So, I told him to REST in the Lord and to let the Lord carry Him. He would either carry him home to me or carry him home to heaven. And we would wait to see which way he decided.
I cannot imagine. The pain of these words, spoken over the phone, tears at my soul. How utterly devastating. But what faith. To trust so completely. To know that sometimes even prayers of hundreds of warriors do not change the course. To open her hands to the outcome, no matter what it was, even from a distance. All the pain of her story, brought her to this place. All the years of hardship, taught her how to speak those words. And then this.
Last night as he lay dying, they allowed me again to FaceTime with him and speak to him while he quietly and peacefully slipped away. A Precious, precious gift to me! And I hope to him. I hope he heard my voice and it brought him comfort.
And with that, the 2-week battle was over. What a twist of life. What an unexpected sorrow. If that were not enough, now my friend is making arrangements in the midst of a pandemic that took her husband from her. How do you even do that if you cannot gather with family? No hugs. No touch. No comforting. Only words spoken.
Fortunately, Terry has a gift in that area. I don’t know how it will all work, but I know her words will speak volumes. This man, who loved his wife so well, will be honored. He cultivated her heart as faithfully as he did his garden. She blossomed under his care. The thorns of life have tried to rip her up, but the sweet scent of his roses will always be a reminder that love always triumphs, even over death. The sorrow will be deep because the love was deeper still.
And as I pray, I ask God to protect Terry’s health and her heart. I ask him to surround her with people who know how to comfort from a distance. I ask him to give her the words she needs, to express the love she will always carry for her Bill. I ask for the garden, the scent and beauty of the flowers, to embrace her with a hug. I ask for her tears to flow freely, but also to bring healing. I ask for relief from the grief of this season with some joyous memories to flood her mind. I ask for grace for it all. In the name of Jesus.
One of Bill’s favorite pieces she wrote is one of her most profound. It takes on new meaning now, in light of this new day. You can find it here. Surrendering to Grace: Freedom Amid the Pain.