My dear friend Sarah doesn’t know I’m sharing this with you today. She hasn’t asked me to do this and maybe that makes me even more determined to help her in any way I can.
I’ll let Sarah share her story with you in her own words….
“On a crisp evening in February 2015, I sat beside my mom in an ER room as the doctor confirmed our fears. Mom had cancer…for the third time. Unsure of the details, the days of waiting began as tests were ordered and prayers were said. Several days later the oncologist pulled up a hospital chair beside Mom’s bedside and delivered the fateful news. It was a worst case scenario – stage four pancreatic cancer.
In these moments of wrestling, grace collided with my story. Friends reminded me that I was giving my all. Scripture assured me that, though I am not enough, God is. Family flew cross-country to step in and give me some time for self-care. All these gifts reminded me that through this incredibly arduous season, I could rest knowing that I was loving well, and giving what I could, and that it mattered.
All of it.
Mom’s final months were some of the hardest, most raw, and beautiful moments of our lives. I can be thankful for the big and small ways God demonstrated His love for us. The only thing I would really change in this story is not having to walk it to begin with. But as life happens, and our fallen world demonstrates, we don’t always get to choose our journeys, but there is good and blessing in all that comes our way.
Our Terminal grew out of Mom’s death and hardest struggle. My prayer is all of you who visit these pages find grace sprinkled amidst your pain and everyday hardship. And that other people’s stories encourage you to love others well through their final terminal of life.”
Even in the midst of the most difficult seasons of her life, Sarah knew that she was being called by God to use her experience to come alongside others in their experience with a terminal illness, whether they were going through it themselves or with a loved one. She kept being reminded over and over again of a terminal, that place where we wait for the next part of our journey.
And out of that Our Terminal.com was born.
Your loved one is at the bus terminal of life—their journey on this earth isn’t over. At a transition point from their healthy past life, to their eternal home waiting in the unforeseen future. This terminal we should not fear. Many people don’t get to ever sit at this transition point with their loved ones, never getting the opportunity to “gather ’round” one last time. To listen. To laugh. To learn. So many loved ones never get to wait patiently on the bench of life, enjoying this sweet sliver of time together. This terminal is a gift to us. Hard? Yes. Are tears shed? Many. Do we wish we could take them off the bench and firmly place them back to their past life? Definitely. However, we can choose to see this “terminal” as a gift; space where we can share memories of the past, show love in the present, and hold hands as we wait for the bus headed to their eternal home. Today the word “terminal” can become one of the greatest blessings God could ever give.
And our hope is that this community will be one of the redemptive pieces of your terminal story.
I’m sharing this with you today because I have a feeling that there is someone in our At the Picket Fence community who needs to know about this incredible site and is longing for some support on their journey. At Our Terminal, you can not only hear from the experiences of others, you can also find access to a variety of resources that will help you navigate through the maze that is dealing with a terminal diagnosis.
We aren’t meant to do this life alone. And we definitely aren’t meant to walk through dark seasons alone. Whether you are dealing with a terminal illness or struggling with depression or infertility or job loss or chronic pain or whatever it is that makes you feel like you are about to drown, reach out. Find support. Get help.
And if you aren’t in a dark season, come alongside someone who is.
Like my friend Sarah is doing.
Thank you so much for meeting me at the fence today and please know that this is a place where you are always welcome, just as you are, with whatever you are going through. We do life together here…all of it.
Thank you for using your space to share such a valuable resource. We humans are wired with a need for community, especially during times of hardship and loss. This is sure to fill a need for many, whether at present or in the future.
As someone who’s had cancer twice now, 10 years apart, I can relate to this strongly. It’s frightening at best and never too far from my thoughts on any given day. What are my chances of getting yet a third diagnosis. But what will be will be. My thoughts are with Sarah and her family.
MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says
Vanessa, what a lovely post.
How we need to be aware of all those hurting people around us. It has been my prayer (since going through my breast cancer) that I will be able to be there for everyone who is going through a really tough time. It really is a blessing to be able to do this — to just sit with them, hold a hand, wipe tears, hear them talk about all they are going through, to pray for them, to bring a meal to them. It has been a wonderful journey to be able to share my faith — I thank God for these wonderful opportunities! You can never do too much for others!
Have a blessed week-end!
I have a friend who has had cancer twice that is taking her mom through this process. Doctors gave her six months two weeks ago.
My dear dear friend of 50 years…met in high school has pancreatic cancer. Still uncertain what stage. Doctors at Mayo Clinic have her on a second round of chemo. They have not done surgery yet which is there plan.
Please keep these two amazing women in your orayers.
My mom passed 10 years ago next month…I often felt alone with the process. Wish I had a site like this to refer to. I am always sharing the resources I found with others and this will be put on my list.
Rose L. says
Lovely as written. My mother had discovered she had breast cancer when 83 and had it removed. She has been taking a pill after treatment and has been now 1 year cancer-free.
My husband suffered from frontal lobe dementia the last 6 years of his life (doctors though he would die by 2nd year) and passed into God’s loving arms Nov 10, 2012 at age 56. I am in a grief support group as felt the need. I feel I lost him more than once, having gone through the dementia caring for him.
Bonnie Schulte says
I believe your post today, has touched many of us in ways you might know and feel, although some feelings are so heart wrenching even I sometimes wonder how we (I) made it through that doorway. But I did, we all do ,those of us left behind, by loved ones. Thank you so much for this post, things are felt much softer, when we know we are not alone…
Wendy Johnson says
One nice summer day 18 years ago my dad went to till the garden and dropped dead in the neighbors yard, with his many health issues it was a great way to go for him , but devastating for us. i was an oncology nurse for 31 years so I have seen both ways many times. Lovely ,touching post .
I have a chronic pain and fatigue condition, rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis, and Stage IV kidney disease. My dear sister in law who has dementia is living with me and my husband and I take care of her. He is showing signs of early dementia now, (their older brother had alzheimers too, so it seems to run in the family…) and I am just overwhelmed at times with all this. Thanks for your posting of your friend’s story today, it hit home for me in so many ways. Thanks for the reminder that I am not alone, am Never alone, in my life’s journey.
Michele (Finch Rest) says
This is amazing.
Thank you both – and thank you, Sarah, for letting us know about this.
May your sweet mom rest in peace.
And peace be with all of you!
Connie R Brown says
As a 3 time survivor of colon cancer, I was deeply moved by your story. I had amazing friends & family who walked us through this journey in prayer. I am so thankful for God’s grace, mercy and love.
Julie B. says
Love how the Lord is at the center of this whole post. During our most dark times, here on Earth, I’m so thankful for a loving Father and Savior that promises all of this is His best for us! Thanks for posting.