Today, I received devastating news about a family friend; one who, though we haven't spoken a lot in recent years, probably had the single most profound impression on my life as a child, besides my parents. Today, cancer has ravaged her body and destroyed any hope of seeing her son reach his next birthday. Today, though they tried one last round of chemo in the hopes of prolonging her--what? suffering? life?--her, there is little hope.
I'd known she'd been sick. After her initial (grim) diagnosis, shocked as we were, we were confident that she would pull out of this. Such a good person...one who has literally touched the lives of thousands of people during her time as a minister. Her husband told us that, physically ill as she is, she insisted upon working a full day at church today. That's her. Always serving other people. I don't consider myself to be particularly religious, but around Kathleen...religion is beautiful. It is love, all love, so much love. There is so much love that just surrounds her. When you are with her, friend, enemy, stranger--you cannot help but feel the love.
As I heard the news today, my first thought was, Why do all the good people have to die? Kathleen is young, my father's age...she has a small son, one who was so wanted and is so, so loved, who will now have to grow up without his mother. I cry for her son. I cry thinking about Kathleen having to leave her son. I can't imagine having to leave my baby behind, to not be able to watch him grow up. I can't imagine growing up without this incredible person in my life, in his life...I hope, hope, hope he can remember her. She is an amazing person.
She is preaching at her church this Sunday. I'll be there, to hug her and to love her, as will so many other people whose lives have been touched by this magnificent woman. The doctors have said only weeks left...and if that is how it will be, I turn to prayer for peace for her and for her family. For her husband, who will not only lose his wife but have a small child to care for. For her sweet baby boy, whose life will be a sadder place without his mother. For Kathleen, who lived more than most people did, but still has so much living left to do! I am sad, it is sad, it is so very, very sad.
Tonight I made peach cobbler. I mashed up the peaches, one by one, almost theraputic in rhythm, and the peach juice dripped sticky-sweet to the floor like the tears that fell down my face.
Why do all the good people have to die?