Have you ever lost something that you held dear?
Maybe a favorite piece of jewelry? Time? A friend?
My mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer just a few weeks short of my second wedding anniversary. She was an amazing woman. And I’m not just saying that. Everybody adored her. When you think of the ideal mom, that was her. She had a ton of friends that sang her praises. She volunteered with the American Cancer Society to drive elderly people that couldn’t drive to medical appointments and to run errands. She would do anything for anybody. Thoughtful, warm, beautiful smile.
Clearly, she was not a likely candidate for cancer!
Clearly God wouldn’t tear an angel from our hearts!
But we were wrong. Less than a year before her death, she was diagnosed with cancer.
Religion doesn’t play a huge role in my life. It is important to me, and I pray and thank God every night for our blessings. My mom’s best friend, a practicing Christian and strong believer, once told me, “God doesn’t care where you worship him as long as you worship him.”
So I prayed. I prayed that she would get better. I prayed that chemotherapy and radiation would work. I prayed the homeopathic treatments that she tried would work. I prayed for a miracle. I tried to bargain with God. If he let her live, I would never do X, Y, or Z again. If he let her live, I’d be a better person.
A few months before she passed, it was clear she wasn’t getting better. And that’s when I started to get mad. Why would God take someone so loved by so many? Someone that had not even met her son’s children yet? But I continued to pray.
Up until the night we got the call that she had passed away. We had been over to see her earlier that day, and knew that she was getting worse. We knew what was coming. We got to say that we loved her, and spoke to her privately. When we got the call that she was gone, I was shocked that she had actually died. I expected my miracle.
And I was pissed. Pissed off at God. All those prayers? They meant nothing. Why would he take someone that was so loved by so many people? There are thousands of murderers, rapists, and child molesters that deserve death – why not take one of them?
WHY, WHY, WHY?
The prayers stopped. I ignored him when I heard him trying to “talk” to me. Religion? Obviously a joke. Why believe in HIM if he can’t even help when you asked for it. There was no lesson to be learned. No epiphany to wait for. There was just sorrow and grief.
IT WAS NOT FAIR.
Does time really heal all wounds? I think it does. Because ever so slowly, over that first year after her death, I started to listen to him again. And I started to pray…occasionally. And when I invited him back into my life because I missed him, he gladly accepted me with open arms.
I still haven’t figured out the “why,” and I still don’t know what I was supposed to learn from her death.
Maybe I never will.
But I am glad I found my faith again.