I have started and stopped a hundred times. The depth of emotion tied to this moment resides beyond the bounds of keystrokes, black lines, and white spaces. No good means exists to say…what must be said.
We have decided to shift April’s care from oncology to hospice.
Though her cancer has responded positively to her last three chemotherapy doses, her liver has only continued to worsen over the last month. Even this week, her bilirubin numbers have increased from 20 to 22. No cure remains. No secret path to health exists. Additional chemotherapy treatments would only inflict unneeded nausea upon an already weak stomach and further her complications from low hemoglobin and a lack of white blood cells. Death’s dark’s cloud has settled over our hearts as dense fog. Only a few more misty steps remain.
As the days progress, April will become increasingly fatigued, requiring more and more sleep. Her cognitive abilities will also become weaker as a result of her liver failure. And then sometime soon, she will go to sleep and never awake.
Though April and I intellectually grasp the bleakness of death and its cold, temporal finality, we do not fear it. For the believer redeemed by the blood of the lamb, death is but the final encounter with sin before an eternity of peace. It is the portal through which all men and women must pass and through which all who have believed will successfully pass for Christ has rolled away the stone. The apostle Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44,
“What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor: it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body…The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus.”
Though she dies, she will live.
As our many tears and hugs evidence, Luke, Lily, Lacey and I (as do a throng of others) would happily prolong April’s life if given the option. Together, we fervently prayed for such an outcome. Still, we do not begrudge our heavenly father for this state of events. As Paul makes clear, April will soon experience a glory that defies our earthly imaginations. We should not so much want to keep her here with us as make plans to join her in paradise.
Though she must go and we must stay in this bleak world a little while longer, we are not alone. God has promised us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. The Word of the Lord will stand forever. Jesus will be with April, me, and our kids as we walk through this crucial hour. His character is defined by grace and mercy and abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness. Though the days are dark, our God is good.
As we shift from pleas of healing to pleas for eternal preparation, we ask you to join us in beseeching God for the mercies needed to steward these lasts weeks and days well. April and I long for this short season of physical sorrow to be defined by spiritual joy and hope. We hope to rejoice even now in God’s goodness and mercy. Pray also for God to draw the hearts of our children to himself and to provide them and me with comfort as we grieve the loss of April and then enter of time of unprecedented transition and change.
May God be merciful.
Please note, we long to responded to all texts and messages. But with the many challenges facing us, our responses will probably be increasingly slow.
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