Mum told us before she passed that the Lord had promised her a radiant life and a radiant death. Her death may not have been glamorous, but it certainly radiated something of such power, that myself, my family, and the countless others (demonstrated in the overflowing church at her celebration) will be learning from for years to come.
My hero of a mother (Jan) had been living with cancer for the last 8 years. The last 4 of which with an S4 terminal diagnosis. In May this year she went home to be with Jesus. With the cancer having spread and grown so violently, it eventually caused her body to shut down. Without going into the details of how it all happened, I would love to share how the last few months have been for our family and myself, and some of what The Lord and she had taught us.
There are some truths that I have learnt through this journey, with mum being so wonderfully open and honest about her process with facing something like this. Sharing some of what the Lord had been teaching her and comforting her with. But also some of what I am thinking and feeling and am currently learning post mum passing (so my apologies if any of this feels a little incomplete and short).
It’s very much a journey our immediate family (and I’m sure others) are in the midst of. One my father, brother and sister-in-law are working out. Weekly, daily and sometimes hourly. It is a bit of a strange journey in all honesty. One I have no experience in having tread before, or really know anyone in my immediate world who has journeyed it before. So it’s very much a learning curve. So far it is full of grace and hope and the occasional moments that come and go of great sadness (often snotty and quite ugly!).
The power and simplicity of her faith and relationship with Jesus radiated so brightly, particularly in the latter years. That her perspective on death, is simply being something that the Lord redeemed.
Death has lost its sting. It is sad. Yes. But with Jesus, death is a doorway to the most wonderful eternity. It doesn’t have to be something to be afraid of.
Mum communicated that her greatest sadness was in what she was leaving behind. That she will miss enjoying all the experiences and adventures her family and friends are yet to have. However, even in that, the Lord brought grace and peace to her, and as a result, to us. The Lord showed her that all the promises He had given her, she would not miss out on seeing them happen. That either on this side of death or as part of the cloud of witnesses, she would see those things, the things she anchored her life and hope to, come to be. She owned this perspective, and as such, created a covering and mindset in the process of her dying that made it more than bearable for her and us.
It made it a journey full of hope particularly pertaining to the moment of death.
I’m more convinced than ever that the ‘victory’ for cancer is in the life it removes before you die. None of us know when or how we are going to die, but we can choose how we want to live each day; the attitudes and beliefs we choose and fight for in the face of unexpected circumstances. The way that mum fought for joy, peace and enjoying the presence of a loving Father, demonstrated the strength and sheer power of a value
system that I will forever be aiming to have active in my life and which I hope to impart to others.
We as a family, in various ways, have witnessed the Lord heal in obvious supernatural ways, both emotionally and physically. As a result we have also lived in the tension these few years of the ‘now and not yet’ essence of the Kingdom of God on earth. However, currently, even though my faith for her physical healing weaned, I have since seen a variety of physical healings.
Do I get it? No. Do I know the one who does? Yes, increasingly so. So I choose to believe in a very close and good God. God the good Father. God the comforter and God the healer.
I’m so sad that she won’t help raise the grand kids, to hug us, to feed us, to encourage us, to glean wisdom/rebuke from into my Vickers male ways. I will miss those silly family moments we all enjoyed (often involving myself loosing to gravity in some elaborate and regretful way or mums random outbursts of noise!) I will miss so much of her not being around in the physical. But I know that as she has moved into the eternal she is at one with the Lord, and is close as God is close.
I miss her greatly, and even now, writing this, feel the ‘welling up’. I know that she is fully alive, fully restored and cheering us all on as part of the cloud of witnesses.
Mum’s story is one of hope and the goodness of God, one I aspire to radiate myself. I am not afraid of the journey ahead, I know it will be full of many mistakes, tears and sadness's, but I also know that it will be even MORE filled with joy, successes, laughter and adventure. And I can’t wait to give her a big hug again, fully believing and having lived as she did, knowing the best is yet ahead.
- Pete Vickers