January 29, 2003
For years and before cancer entered our life occasional nightmares woke me. Werner always disappeared or moved to Switzerland without me. On January 29, 2003, the morning after Werner received the terminal cancer diagnosis; I woke to the reality that I am now living that nightmare.
I turned in and looked at my husband still asleep, his back to me, yet warm and close. I slid my arm around his chest and pulled myself into the curve of his back. I felt his hand cover my hand. “Hi love,” he said.
In my mind, I heard, “Remember his voice.” I held him tighter. It was the end of January 2003 and life as we knew it.
One morning as I sat alone at our dining room table and too shocked to cry, I knew one thing. If I did not wrestle with how to stand with Werner, how to face terminal cancer and the horror of a death sentence in the faith I professed, I would not only be unable to stand, and I would cause irreparable harm to my husband and my children.
Knowing God did not intend to heal Werner here, I stood on the front line to do battle with the enormity of losing my husband. No one on earth possessed the power to help me face this road marked, your new reality, living nightmare, no turning back, a dead-end.
I looked out the window at the fresh snow covering the gardens, the orchard, and the mountains surrounding our home. I looked up at the deep blue sky morning and hated the pristine scene I loved. Nothing consoled me. Courage left me. What will happen to my commitment to honor Werner’s request, “You must be brave,” when all the never again-s came rushing at me with the force of a mountain river’s ice break pushing boulders, uprooting trees, and annihilating everything in its path.
Desperate and beyond coping, I cried out to God. Help me grab ahold of something to keep me standing for my husband.
The answer came immediately from words I heard coming from the kitchen radio. “If you stay so close to Christ, He will not allow you to fall too far. He will go before you and be your rear guard.”
The painful fresh snow scene outside my window vanished replaced by the memory of hiking with Werner in mid-October that gave life and meaning to the words I heard on the radio.