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I planned a clever little post about how wonderful it is to
be a writer. It is—but I’ll save all the good stuff about how a writer can work
at home in jammies for later. But then there was yesterday. Yesterday, was a
much more somber day. Yesterday, we buried my precious sister-in-law, Jackie.
She lost her battle with cancer but won a crown in heaven.
Ron and Jackie
Forty-five years ago Jackie served as matron of honor at my
wedding. That was the day she became my sister…officially. She was already a
believer as was I, so we were already part of the same family.
I have some sweet memories of my sis. Like the spring we
were both expecting our firstborn children. They were born three months apart.
Sharing that time with a sister is special. We compared notes and shared dreams.
And there was the day our husbands were across the Florida
lake fishing. We decided to clean up the beach since Easter was right around
the corner. We picked up branches and debris from the area. We lifted an old
deflated inner tube, revealing a mass of squiggly baby snakes. Our screams
could be heard throughout the neighborhood as we made a mad dash for the dock.
We yelled for help from our husbands, telling them there
were baby snakes on the beach. They yelled back for us to kill the snakes. They
“ Kill them?”We
looked at each other. I know the men probably intended for us to get a hoe and
chop off little snake heads or something, but that would put us well within the
ten-foot-pole range we wouldn’t touch.
We were problem solvers though. We went into the house and
got our father-in-law’s loaded revolver. We stood on the dock and took turns
aiming and shooting at those baby snakes.
I can honestly say there was not one snake left alive under
that inner tube. They all managed to squiggle away. The inner tube didn’t make
it and I’m quite sure neither of us ventured into that water until late summer.
Jackie with 2 of her Grands
When Tom and I retired to Florida we lived next door to Ron
and Jackie. They, too, were retired so we were able to enjoy each other’s company
in a new way. Now the talk was about camping and playing with our
One night when the electric went out in the neighborhood,
Ron and Jackie walked over to our house for dinner. We grilled out and made a
salad. The four of us talked around the table until sunset when we decided to
head out for dessert. We found a McDonald’s a few miles away that still had
electricity so we ducked in for ice cream and coffee. Memories like that are
meaningless to most, but that quiet night of conversation, good food, and ice
cream is a moment I will forever treasure.
The first day of this New Year Jackie and I sat in her
living room and talked. Yes, we talked about the cancer. But we also we talked
about our children and grandchildren. And we prayed. I’ve been thinking about
that sun soaked day. It was my last time to hold her hand and talk and laugh.
I prayed for God to heal her. And he did.
It is because of her relationship with Christ I can find
peace in all of this. I’ve studied God’s words. Jackie has a new body; one that
is not riddled with that terrible disease. The illness and treatments for it
had depleted her strength. Now, I know, she is stronger than ever.
I’m ending this post with a call to action.
First, please hug the people you love and spend time making
Second, join with me in the fight against cancer.
Third, and this may be the most important: seek a
relationship with God through His son, Jesus.
Finally, live a life as Jackie did. A life that reflects
God’s incredible love for you.