“I only have a few weeks.”
As the words came out of my mouth, they didn’t make any sense. But that is what I had just been told by Dr. Warner. He told me this could happen, but I had taken it for granted. I’m not even fifty yet. I have a husband and four barely grown children, I’m still needed. Why would God call me home now?
I found Ryan out back and joined my husband on the back deck. It over looked a beautiful stream and woodlands. The stars were shining above, with a low full moon. My last full moon possibly, what a morbid thought. We were silent for a long while, taking in the peaceful night. The peaceful night I was about to destroy for my wonderful husband of 27 years.
Ryan was standing beside me, as he had been since the moment we met. He was my best friend. We shared everything. We were good, solid, in love. How could I possibly leave him? How could I tell him? We had planned a long life together, growing old together, with hopes of just passing on in our sleep together. Now I was reneging on our agreement.
“Baby what’s wrong?” His question came as he turned to face me. “You’ve been so quiet. Please stop fretting and just tell me.” His voice was the sure and calm, the strength I had come to rely on. He was a true gift from God, everything I ever needed God had placed in the kind heart and soul of this man.
“I heard back from the doctor today. He actually had me come in.” I took his hands as I spoke, looking into his eyes. Thinking I felt like I was dying inside. The look on his face changed, he knew bad news was crashing to our shores.
“Honey, it’s a brain tumor. That’s why I’ve had all the headaches and blacking out. It is large, so large they can’t do surgery. Any treatment would only possibly give me a couple of weeks and leave me so weak and sick. It isn’t worth losing the quality of life.”
Ryan immediately took me into his arms. His arms, my refuge from every storm we had ever faced. And now that I had spoken it out loud to him, it all felt real. Just like everything else we had encountered, once I shared it with him, good or bad, it became real. Sobs began to choke me, my body shook.
“I’m so sorry Ryan. I love you so much. I…I” I couldn’t say anything else.
“Oh Jessie, baby.” His words were half a whisper. His arms became tighter around me, safer, warmer, stronger…my favorite place in this world.
We stood there as one for a long time in each other’s arms. Not a word was shared between us. Our tears mingled as we held each other cheek to cheek. The night air surrounded us and the stars shown down upon us like God’s promises through the darkness that engulfed us.
Ryan’s lips met mine in a kiss that I would forever cherish. I thanked God for such a wonderful husband. I prayed God would meet him in this place and bring him peace, beyond understanding. My mind calmed down, I wasn’t worried about dying. I was worried about hurting the only man I ever loved.
Ryan then smiled at me and told me, “God is in control, we have to believe that. Jesus is going to welcome you with open arms.” Tears were in his eyes as he continued, “You’ll meet our baby we lost, all those years ago. Tell him or her how much I love them. I don’t know how I’m going to go on without you. You are so much a part of me.”
I kissed him and stared into those deep blue eyes I love, “But I know that those same arms that welcome me to heaven are the same arms that will comfort you. We will be together again someday and until then we will still share the same Savior.”
We must have stood there in each other’s arms for hours. The weeks went by too quickly. The day came on a Friday in late September. The autumn leaves were bright in all their glory.
Ryan held my hand and stroked my hair and kissed me softly, not good- bye but until then.
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