This post is #185 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
It's a very surreal thing to write an obituary for your own child.
It's even more surreal when your child is sitting beside you as you write it.
After Hannah's doctor confirmed that there was nothing else medically that could be done for her and that unless God intervened in a miraculous way she would be going to Heaven soon, I decided to begin making preparations for her funeral. If you know me you know I'm a planner by nature, so this was not unusual although the situation certainly was. I was afraid that once Hannah left for Heaven I would be too distraught to think clearly enough to plan something so important.
I began the process while we were still at home, before we entered hospice care. I wrote her obituary sitting on the couch in our living room with Hannah dozing beside me in her recliner. I also gathered our favorite family photos for my brother to use in creating a slideshow tribute to Hannah's life. Together, Brad and I discussed who would speak at her "celebration service", what music would be sung, and where her earthly shell would be buried.
Some might consider this a lack of faith. After all, that miraculous intervention from God was still possible!
Here's how I looked at it ... if God did choose to heal Hannah at this point, what an amazing part of her testimony this would be! Think of how incredible it would have been for her to stand before crowds of people and share how her death was so near that her mother had already written her obituary when God touched her and restored her to health!
Nothing would have made me happier than for all those funeral preparations to have been a waste of time.
As impressive as that testimony would have been, that was clearly not God's plan for her life. His greatest glory was to be revealed in her death. Of course, we could not know that at the time. Our job was simply to trust that the One who loved her even more than we did had her (and us) in His mighty right hand.
My email from ten years ago today ...
There's not a lot of new information to report today ... Hannah has not eaten at all, and has drank just a couple of sips of water. She is getting morphine injections into her PICC line every 2-3 hours to keep her comfortable. She also got another unit of platelets today, although she has not had any nosebleeds for the past three days (Praise the Lord!). She is communicating now primarily through hand signals and head movements. She has indicated to us that she is ready to go to Heaven, and we have turned her over to the Lord. We are praying specifically for God's mercy ... either mercy in the form of physical healing, or mercy in taking her to her eternal rest soon.
"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You." (Ps 33.18-22)
God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad
And a few pictures from that slide show I prepared ...