I woke up this morning to the news that a very dear friend of mine lost her husband early this morning. He had a long battle with cancer, and he died in the early morning hours. She was by his side. According to second-hand accounts, he slipped gently from this world into the next while praying with his wife by his side.
This man was an inspiration to me. For all the time I've known him, he's been dealing with cancer, but always with a smile on his face and a prayer in his heart. He was honestly one of the most deeply prayerful people I've ever known. He had complete trust that his life was in God's hands and that his pain was a part of God's plan. I've never seen anyone deal quite so cheerfully with pain and illness.
My husband and I were fortunate to be able to attend an open house they had several weeks ago, where family and friends could come to visit. They knew the end was near, but at the time, he was still feeling well enough to laugh and talk with visitors. I remember him so vividly now...his manner of speaking, his gestures, the way he was able to focus entirely on the person he was speaking to without being distracted by other visitors or the many children running around. He had the ability to be truly present to others. That is rare.
While I rejoice that his pain has been removed and am confident that an eternal reward awaits this good and faithful servant of God, I am so sad for his young family. He leaves behind a wife and six children, the youngest of whom will be three years old in a few weeks. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for my dear friend, but I know that she and her family will not be far from my thoughts and prayers for a long time.