Friday, September 08, 2006

A Death Can Be a Confusing Thing.

A friend died today.

Her name was Peggy, and she was about 47 years old.

She had been suffering with multiple sclerosis for the past 20-odd years. The disease had begun to really accelerate in the past two years. Infections easily take hold of the MS suffer. They have to be on immunosuppressants, because the disease is an autoimmune one, attacking the myelin sheath around the nerves, which causes the messages from the central nervous system to be lost en route. Peggy didn't die of MS. She died of pneumonia. I last saw her Monday night. She seemed worse than usual-- it was hard to understand her speech, but I just chalked that up to an unusually dry mouth from all the meds she had to take. She seemed weaker than usual, but insisted that she wasn't doing poorly. Wednesday morning her caregiver discovered her nearly comatose and called an ambulance.

I heard about it Thursday and got to the hospital as fast as I could. Finding her room, I saw that she was awake and alert, on oxygen and an antibiotic drip. Her mother and brother were there and I laughed and joked with them, relieved to find Peggy so much better, and left, after praying with them, with a lighter heart.

This morning I got the email that she had died that night.

Whenever I came home from visiting Peggy, I marvelled at her. Peggy had a tough life. She had been married, and had a son, but her husband left her when the going began to get tough. So she was on her own, but her blood family was always there for moral support, and she had alot of friends. A few years ago her dad died, which hit her hard. He mother is older and ailing herself, having just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her son is 14 now, and lives with his dad. I never got the feeling that her son was particularly enthusiatic about visiting his mother. But she fought hard for every minute she could get with him...he was one of the brightest stars in her sky.

Peggy wasn't shy about voicing her fears and doubts. She was one of the grittiest ladies I ever knew-- and one of the most honest about suffering. Not that she complained, but she admitted that it was hard and talked about the difficulties. I learned from her what it was like to deal with thoughtless, able-bodied folk. At the end, she was confined to a motorised wheelchair, and the wheelchair was in the process of breaking down so that if she wanted to get anywhere she had to be pushed-- and she lived alone (though with the help of both paid and unpaid caregivers). In the past six months she fought corneal infections, infections in her toe, a bowel she was losing control over, a shrivelling hand, and several medication problems. She was paralysed from the waist down, and the paralysis was progressing from the waist up.

The brightest star in her sky-- the Sun, really-- was Jesus Christ. We had lots of talks about trusting Him. Just last Monday we talked about that. I was telling her how I found out about the word "provision". This descriptive word for God comes from two words: pro- before, and vide- to see. She was concerned about the future. I said it was easy for me to talk about it, but that the truth was that God is the believer's provider: He sees ahead , all the things we can't, and provides for us all that is best for our sanctification, and that we need to trust in all that He gives, and in all that He allows. That seemed to strike Peggy well. She put her head back on the pillow and just rested in that thought for a bit.

I went home and thought about what Heaven would be like for Peggy. She will rejoice to see her Savior's very real face at last, and on Resurrection Day, she will be given a new body-- incorruptible, agile and beyond beautiful. She will dance, she will build, she will run like the wind and leap like the hart, she will know the faithful love of her eternal Husband, Who never did and will never leave her. Thanks be to God! This is most certainly true!

Just one more thing: Do you know what the Scripture says concerning this? Do you know that everyone will be resurrected? Do you know that your body will be raised immortal? Do you know that if you do not put your trust for your salvation entirely in Jesus Christ-- not in the "good stuff" that you hope will tip the scales in your favor, your immortal body will be subject to eternal torment? Have you thought about what that entails? Do you act like someone who really believes these things?

Do you know that if you have trusted in Him only, not in any "good deeds" that you might hope would tip the scales in your favor, you will recieve an immortal body that will enjoy His real presence forever, enjoying a real New Heaven and New Earth? Not some dreamy place, but a pace so real that it will make you forget this Earth the way you forget a dreary dream! What does it look like to act as though we believe these things?

God Himself has made these promises. Peggy trusted them. And thanks be to the Almighty Who can bring them to pass, I will see her again, with a multitude and more of others, and we will sing.. and run.. and laugh.. and hug one another and give homage and love to our King and Lord forever.

Peggy is dead. Long live Peggy!


Blogger Aunt Cin said...

Praise God for Peggy and her shining faith and fortitude in the face of such difficulty!

I'm sorry for your loss, E. Many hugs - I wish I could give them in person.


7:01 PM  
Blogger The BadgerMum said...

I'm so sorry, Eleanor. What a beautiful tribute to Peggy!

8:34 PM  
Blogger craigellachie said...

Right now I'm feeling sorrier for myself than for Peggy! :>)

9:03 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

bless you, dear.

and we can rejoice for Peggy, in the arms of her Saviour!

Love, Heidi

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a loving and loyal friend. Your tribute to Peggy was beautiful.

How wonderful the thought that she is before the Throne!

Hugs to you, Eleanor...

12:06 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home