Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tomorrow is my 54th birthday.
Two days ago our friend Sharon died, the day after her 54th birthday.
In June 2016 Sharon McGill and her family were with us in Swaziland. They sat with us at our fireplace and enjoyed a Swazi sunset, they built the playground at our Emseni Campus, and they enjoyed playing with our children.
Six months later Sharon was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, sought treatment and was thought to be in remission. Then there was the “potato-like” lump on her hip in September. I laughed and told her that I also have lumps on my hips that are from potatoes.
And suddenly she is gone.
Sharon and her husband Terry are dorm parents at Morrison Academy in Taiwan where Chloe went to high school. That is where we met them and became friends. They are missionary kids themselves and in fact were students at Morrison Academy when they were teenagers, and then were married for 27 years. Their lives are parallel to Ian and my lives in many ways. Ian and I also went to high school together, we have been married 26 years, we are both called in ministry to care for other people's children and of course there’s the 54th birthday. I will eat cake. She couldn’t.
Death is a strange creature. We are all going to die. No one escapes that. And yet the pain that comes with it feels like having open-heart surgery without any anesthetic. As followers of Jesus we believe that Sharon is completely healed and is in heaven with those that have gone on before. We also believe that in a blink of an eye we will see her, and all of our loved ones again. But in the meantime, the pain is unbearable for loved ones left behind.
And then there are the hospital bills. The McGills are from Taiwan. Through a series of events Sharon ended up in an ICU room in a hospital in San Diego. They don’t have US insurance, and the bills are staggering. Then there is the travel back to Taiwan. My head spins at the complexity and I find myself shouting “this not fair God!”
When I was a little girl and was upset about something that I didn’t like I would say to my mom, “That’s not fair!”. And my mom would always respond, “Life is not fair.” I found no solace in that, nor was she trying to give me any. She was just stating a fact.
Life is not fair. Cancer sucks.
I am writing today with a birthday wish. Would you please pray for Terry, their boys and the HUGE family who is mourning this tragic loss. But also, will you take a further step and help relieve the pressure of the hospital bill so that the McGill family can mourn their loss in peace? Please go to https://www.youcaring.com/sharonmcgill-1006441 and give now.
Terry wrote a beautiful blog during these last few weeks and yesterday he ended it with these words, “We are grieving and we will continue to. We will simultaneously grab hold of all the joy in life that God gives us and we will carry on.” ( http://carinforsharon.blogspot.com/ )
Live from Swaziland … "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4