Out of all the things most tragic in this life, one of the worst has to be when a mom departs from this world, leaving a husband and children behind.
Sure, people die everyday--some accidents, some elderly, some.. but not someone you know. Not someone whose husband sits next to my husband at work. And even though the cancer has been coming and going for seven years, the day of her parting was unknown until yesterday.
Sometime in the morning hours, on the Lord's day, a weak, frail body adorned by a strong, determined soul went to be with her Lord and Savior.
I know very little about Rhonda's life. She was a principal of a Christian school in town. No doubt, every student and family of the school will be at the funeral. I only met her once--at last year's company Christmas party. She and Brian stood at our table, nibbling hors d'ourves. She was tall, slim and pretty. She smiled politely. They had several engagements that night and stopping off at the party was just one of many things they had to do that evening.
I gobbled up my plate and was seeking out more food when I wondered how she.. how they.. were doing it. Was she in pain? Was she nauseated? Was she aware that this was her last company Christmas party? Others at the party were talking, singing, getting drunk.. (the usual) and there she was..
Then again, what is she supposed to do? Give up? Decide to stop life?
And what is he supposed to do? There's Brian--Mr. Fitness himself. When he wasn't working, he was working out--3, or 4 hours a day. When he was working, he was double distracting himself by listening to music on his earbuds or encouraging others. Everyone who was trying to loose weight or wanted to run or wanted attention, there he was. He was always "Mr. rah-rah" to whomever needed encouragement. Will said that he ended every conversation with a thumbs up and "that's great!" to anyone and everyone who came near his desk.
And Will should know. He sits right near him. Brian was the cheerleader of many, so he made it his business to encourage everyone.. until last Friday.
Something happened that Will had never observed before. Brian realized that for the first time since this disease started (cancer) that "we're not going to win this battle".
And as of yesterday, the battle was officially over. For Rhonda, she is at peace. For Brian, who like many men dealing with grief, had not faced reality until recently. The new battle is just beginning. There is so much to learn and suffer through before the peace comes.
Pray for this family. Pray that Will can be a source of encouragement to him in the coming days also.
(photo of the family and their two daughters)