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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Barrett

Beauty in Death

Things are quiet around here. Recently I had a friend ask "How are you?? Busy these days I'm sure..." (This kind of banter about being busy seems to have taken over as a general greeting).

But no, I'm not all that busy. On Saturday I sat on a bench and stared at a beautiful orange and red tree, in all its fall glory. I thought of Jim Gaffigan's sketch about seasons and chuckled to myself. He jokes about how our favorite season is fall- watching leaves die.

Death. I forgot about it for a moment. Thinking about death is hard. There are days of grief, but sometimes just moments. My dad's cancer is spreading faster than the doctors can keep up, and it's been a relief to him to make the choice to begin hospice care instead of more chemo. He's losing weight, upping pain meds, and is low on energy all the time. Our family has been in connection daily, assuring him of our support, our love, and saying all the things you want to say to a loved one.

This little season is a gift of time. No one wants to die slowly, but what happens if you do? You get to see beauty unfold.

The beauty of Kenny making sure he tells my dad what a good father he has been to me.

The beauty of asking my dad about his faith, and him giving me assurance of his eternity with Jesus.

The beauty of reminiscing with pictures and memories of days long gone by.

The beauty of foot rubs and shoulder rubs- a Broyles family favorite pastime.

The beauty of unselfish love unfolding before my very eyes- my mother's love for my father.

The beauty of my dad expressing his love for his girls.

Our nuclear family has been together several times this last year. What a gift. I wish my dad wasn't suffering from pain and nausea, but I wouldn't wish our time away- ever.

"Joy is not happiness on steroids. It's the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say." -Stasi Eldredge, Defiant Joy

You are so right, Stasi. Sorrow and loss do not have the final say in this family. Cancer does not have the final say in this family. We shall overcome. One day, Jesus will come to restore all that has been lost, all that we grieve now will be restored a hundredfold. This is the hope that is the anchor for true joy, even when death comes nearer and nearer.


Fall 2016

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