At the age of sixteen I had no idea what I wanted out of life. My family was something I took for granted. I spent way too much time focusing on how many friends I wanted to have and not enough time thinking about who I wanted to become or what I was prioritizing.
Then October 4, 2007 came along. On what I thought would be a regular Thursday, my dad passed away suddenly in our laundry room at home. The culprit? A massive heart attack. My world was effectively shaken and with that I was forced to readjust my view on life. Family quickly became the number one thing for me.
I’m glad my priorities shifted when they did because 5 years later my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer.
A tumor in her adrenal gland and cancer in her liver shocked and surprised everyone including my mom. She went in for a routine surgery to have the tumor removed, and was planning to come home the next week. She even bought a special table so that she could enjoy her meals bedside while she recovered (which I ended up having to heart-breakingly return to the store).
While in surgery, there were several complications. That night, the doctor looked me in the eye and said “Your mom won’t make it past tonight.”
I immediately called 10 of my closest friends and family and had them pray for healing. At the time I didn’t really know what healing I was praying for, or what God would end up doing, but I had faith He would heal her.
She fought so hard for 21 days in the ICU and made me so proud in the process. But, then, a month after her initial diagnosis she met the Lord.
She was not responding to the medication, and was getting worse not better. I was left to make the hardest decision — to set the end of life extubation. We chose for it to be at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
At 3AM I got a phone call from my mom’s night nurse telling me to get to the hospital. I sat in ICU with my aunt, and saw my mom’s eyes close right at 4:00 am on Tuesday March 6, 2012. This was a beautiful gift in disguise- a sign. 4:00 am? Wow. It was not the 4:00 WE had planned, but the 4:00 God had planned. Another gift in disguise? I didn’t have to go through with the decision we made to extubate her.
I immediately realized that God answered my prayer and the prayers of so many people whom I know. God DID heal her, 100%. Maybe not the way I had intended, but it was His plan that prevailed (Proverbs 19:21).
I believe fully that God had/has a plan. Even in my tragic mess of losing both parents by 21.
I’ve learned so much since then, but if I could give you any advice it would be to call your parents every day. You might say “Molly, my parents are difficult; My mom and I haven’t talked in years; My dad remarried;” Whatever your story, fix it. Or at least give yourself the chance.
I wish I had the chance.
One thing I always tell people is to not be sorry for me. God has fulfilled His promises in my life, and I am living proof that the strength He promises all of us in His word is true. The strength might take you a while to find, but it’s there, and it can carry you through anything.
Has faith played a role in how you’ve dealt with loss? Let us know in the comments.