I lost my mother-in-law to cancer last week. It was an awful, emotional, exhausting and eye opening experience. And it brought to my attention so many things.
I realized how many people one life can affect. How many lives can be changed just by one persons kindness. How one prayer warrior can make such a difference. How having a heart like Jesus can leave such a lasting impression. And all of these qualities belong to one woman who will leave a hole in our lives for years to come.
In four short, but oh so long, days, I witnessed countless people stop their lives to say goodbye to this woman. I think I saw more people traipse in and out of her hospice room than I even know. And that is such a testament to who she was. And it makes you wonder what your legacy will be.
It also leaves us something to live up to.
I saw my husbands family, and all our friends pull together. We had childcare provided for us so that we could devote our time to just BEING there. We had meals prepared by friends who just wanted to love on us. We contacted family that for their own personal reasons, had previously been cut off. And they dropped everything and rushed out.
We shared stories that some of us had never heard before. We learned that it really is possible to laugh until you pee. And imagined that there really is no better reason to wet yourself than whatever fun she was having to actually do that!
We made new memories. We had moments, good and bad, that will forever be etched on our hearts. We bridged gaps in our relationships. We held each other up when the strength just wasn't there.
We prayed together. Oh, did we pray together. We prayed for strength. We prayed for peace. We prayed for her suffering to end, and for Jesus to come and take her home. We prayed for each other. We prayed for our children. We prayed that those we love who don't know Jesus would feel His presence.
We realized that if whatever grudge you are holding can be forgiven at the last moment, then why not forgive earlier? We realized that praying for people really does make a difference. We realized that no matter how small a role you may have played in someone's life, the impact can last a lifetime.
And we learned that in the end, love is all that matters.