Beyond Hope

I wrote this blog because it stood in stark contrast to what I tell people as a motivational speaker. I tell people to persevere, to press through adversity, and not to give up. I also talk a lot about perspective and this story may reveal a deeper perspective than I have ever shared. Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak in Bethune SK at the interment honouring Maureen Sullivan.

Ode to Maureen
The circumstances were extremely dire … beyond hope. Maureen had cancer throughout her body and her kidneys had quit functioning. She was informed she would need a day of chemo, followed by a day of rest, followed by dialysis, followed by chemotherapy, followed by … well, you get the idea. They obviously couldn’t guarantee the chemo would eradicate the cancer and they were also unsure how long she would live with this approach. Since her kidneys failed she knew she would be on dialysis. She had already gone through the dialysis process and found it consumed her entire day and drained all her energy. The road ahead looked very bleak and the quality of life questionable. At seventy years of age, she made a courageous decision to medicate for the pain, but not to pursue chemo or dialysis.

My wife and I took the opportunity to go visit Maureen in the hospital. Not knowing how she would be, or even knowing what to say. She was in very good spirits, completely lucid and actually concerned for how we would be taken care of at Kedleston Gospel Camp, the camp where she volunteered as registrar for over 30 years. We had a great visit, provided some support for her son and daughter-in-law and prayed that she would be at peace and be able to let go … A week and a half later she passed on.

That may sound like a tragic end, but during that week and a half she had the opportunity to say goodbye to all of her family and many of her friends. She also had the required time to plan out exactly how she wanted her funeral and her assets distributed. The odd thing is she had given up, tapped out, but yet she was full of hope. She had perspective and was so relaxed knowing that she was going home to meet her maker. The pastor commented that in all his years as pastor he never witnessed any one facing death with such grace.

Often we want someone who is ailing to stay with us, to persevere, to fight at all costs. Maureen knew the battle about to ensue and she had a peace that had more to do with her faith than her age. You see Maureen had a hope beyond hope and she knew it was time to go home.

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