In January one of my dear friends in our community passed away. She had battled cancer for many years and at long last she gained her freedom from this world’s trials.
I know that I am quite blessed to have had someone like her to walk beside and mentor me, not everyone has that privilege. But I miss her. I miss being able to talk to her about the things that were a part of our lives, doctors, nurses, hospitals, medications, pain, lab work, fatigue, learning to let go, learning to keep going, good days and bad days. These things were/are a part of our everyday life. It’s what is normal. I miss the freedom of being able to talk to her about these things that are not relative to others.
Sometimes, especially at night or on our way home from church, I think of her. Although I don’t wish her back, it doesn’t stop the tears from falling.
Below is a tribute I wrote for her shortly before her death. You know how when someone dies, you can think of all kinds of good things about them and write glorious tributes that would have been a little more difficult to write while they were still living? Well, this was not the case here. This was how she lived her everyday life. She had a way of making everyone one feel special. We didn’t have to wait for her to die to appreciate her!
A Tribute To Wilma
You may not be a woman of extra-ordinary physical beauty, but you have a beauty that shines through in your strength and godly character. So much so, that when I asked my high school girls who they thought of as a truly beautiful woman, your name was mentioned several times.
A meek and quiet spirit is defined in you. You are not perfect, and you are always quick to remind us of that. But in your humbleness, you have allowed the Holy Spirit to work in your life and give you victory.
You always look for the good in others with never an unkind word. You are no respecter of persons, everyone and anyone is welcome in your home.
Your uncomplaining spirit has inspired me. No matter how sick you feel, you cheerfully do more than your share. Now when I face something that looks too big for me to do, I think, Wilma would do it like this, and she wouldn’t complain. Then I try my best to follow your example.
Throughout our years of simultaneous sickness, you have been my comrade, confidant, and role model. We have shared so much. You understood how I felt and you didn’t criticize me. You would, in your gentle way, point me to God and encourage me to keep my trust in Him.
You have suffered greatly, yet you are an incredible example of quiet surrender to God’s will and living the life He gave you with such courage. You have allowed circumstances to make you a better person, showing love instead of bitterness. I’ve watched you live and I’m watching you die, and always you are reaching out to others, even ministering to us with your last words.
In one of our visits you told me, “I can’t be angry with God for allowing my cancer. His way is perfect. If I tried to plan things, I wouldn’t be satisfied with the results anyway and so it’s just much better to accept God’s way since He has a plan that is perfect even if we don’t understand it.”
I sit here to write, tears on my cheeks. I have just bid you a final farewell. As heart wrenchingly difficult as it is to say good bye, seeing you lie there in so much pain, I pray for God to call you to your pain free, eternal home soon.
For your sake.
But I am selfish. I wanted you to get well. I think, but we need her! However, I cannot be angry with God. For you have taught me that even when God doesn’t answer our prayers, His ways are higher than our ways and He has a plan that is perfect, even if I don’t understand why.
Enjoy that pain free, disease free world, Wilma. You will probably say, “Oh but God, if you just knew what I think sometimes, you wouldn’t let me enter Heaven.”
But you’ve applied His cleansing power in your life and you’ve been redeemed.
Your spot in Heaven is waiting for you!