Thursday, January 22, 2009

Embrace Life

With the title of today's post my subject could be on pro-life which I am an adamant supporter of, however it isn't as you will see.
Almost four years ago I was blessed to hospice my older sister during her final seven months of life while she battled cancer. It was definitely one of the most difficult times in my life but also one so very precious and so filled with the grace of the Lord. Even as I write this and remember back to those days, the tears come. At the time I choose to focus on the particular day and not look forward for I knew what lie ahead and in order to walk through it I had to embrace each day as it came. I am not saying I didn't stumble, for I did, my girls can testify to that but I couldn't think about "how long" she had, it was simply too painful. Having lost our mom when I was 21 and still a brat(sorry to be blunt but it was true), my sister stepped into the role quite easily. Her battle with cancer had started almost eight years earlier and she outlived the statistics, she was such a warrior. When that dreaded final prognosis came from her oncologist, I remember sobbing and sobbing. A change came over her personality, knowing each day could be her last, a new softness and mercy came into her. I truly believe it was the Lord's refining that changed her those last few months. I well remember her looking at me that day, after the doctor's appt., telling me how much she loved me and then using the analogy of a going on a train ride-she'd just get there before the rest of us. Oh, how I miss her. During those days, she got quite adamant with me about not crying all the time, not being sad and just enjoying the time together we had.
Several months into her final walk, we spent the night together~she would get up in the night and want to have ice-cream and visit because she couldn't sleep. As much as my spirit was desiring this, my flesh was weak and I remember getting so upset with her cause I was so tired.
So as sisters can, we would drive each other nuts at time although I'm sure she was much more patient with me than I was.
One of our favorite expressions during this journey was "Whenever possible embrace life" and one of her favorite songs was "I hope you dance". When I hear that song now it still moves me to tears. I remember hospice telling me it was a gift to be able to walk through my sister's last months with her and at the time I thought "this is not a gift". Afterwards I knew it was and I'm so thankful my dear hubby agreed to have me quit work to help her.
A short year later, I helped a dear sister in the Lord walk this path with her husband. I wasn't as involved because I was back to work but I was blessed to be there the night he went home to glory.
These two events have made me look at life differently, to cherish every day and to try to embrace all that we face.
Many people today are facing such difficult trials; job losses, cancer, uncertainty for the future
and I know it isn't easy while you're walking through it but know there is One whom desires to take your hand and if necessary carry you. Take His hand today.


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart today Noreen!

    What a journey the Lord took you and your sister on together ... learning to embrace every moment with your hands in His.

    I appreciate her analogy of a train ride and that she is just arriving at the destination before you ~ it sounds like you both had a very special relationship and many treasured memories together.

    Blessings to you!

  2. Hi Noreen ~

    I just want to thank you for your last few posts! You have shared so much and it has given me so much to ponder and to spend time over. ~ So much to absorb! ~

    Blessings to you Noreen!

    Hugs ~

  3. Sweet, dear, Noreen, know that you are much stronger than you realize. I am sure your sister understood those times when you were tired. The times you cried I am sure she wanted to reassure you in her own way. What a bonding time to knit you two together.
    I pray your daughters will see this testimony and 'Embrace Life'.

    Hugs & embracing you, my sister,

  4. What a moving post. I have a sister and I can't imagine going through that. I know I would be there for her and vis versa. It sounds like you are very close to your family and it is so great that you can all be there close to each other.

  5. What a wonderful post. I never had a sister, however if I had had one, I would have wanted her to be just like you. Beautiful blog.

  6. I know it took such courage to share your private and painful journey. My heart both hurt and rejoiced as I read your story. Sounds like both you and your sister were blessed to have each other.



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