“At least I want to survive until I hold my baby …” She told me quietly, and she stroked her large belly with her slender fingers. It was three more months until her due date. She looked abstract and detached from reality. I was overwhelmed by a flood of various emotions and could not hold back my tears. I was shouting in my mind, “Why? Why, God? She is a faithful Christian who loves you so much. Her husband and her two boys, and her unborn baby need her. And I don’t want to lose her either. She is my best friend and dear sister in Christ. She is too young to go to heaven. Maybe after forty years, but not now.”
She was diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was six months pregnant. Her doctor had told her that she had only one month to live. We prayed for a miracle, a miracle for her baby to be born safely, a miracle for her healing, for remission.
And there was a miracle: God gave her two more years. She was able to see her precious daughter be born and grow and to celebrate her daughter’s second birthday. Her first wish came to be.
But her condition declined rapidly after that. Even still, she was able to prepare for her departure little by little.
“Can you go shopping for me to buy a white pair of shoes? I want to go and choose pretty ones, but you know, I can’t walk anymore,” she asked me. “I want to wear them at my funeral. I will wear my wedding dress, so I think white shoes would be perfect,” she said. It was her second wish, and I bought a beautiful pair of white, low heeled pumps.
The oak tree leaves turned copper, gold yellow and bright red. She slept most of the time, but when I read the Psalms, her mouth moved, “Amen.” Her voice was feeble but clear. “I am sorry to ask you again. But I wonder if you would make a flower bouquet for me to hold when I enter into His presence? I love white lilies with purple ribbon, whitish purple.”
I bought a bunch of lilies and tied them with purple ribbon. She was wearing her wedding dress and white shoes and holding her bouquet. Her face was bright, and reflected peace. She looked like she was smiling. She only gave me three of her wishes, but I’m sure there were more. I wanted to hear the rest of her wishes. I didn’t mind if she asked me to help with a hundred or a thousand more wishes …
Dying at such a young age, she left behind loved ones, lots of tears, sadness, mourning, pain … But I am certain where she went, certain of her destination. She departed as a bride, the Bride of Christ.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where they have come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:13-14 (ESV)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4 (ESV)