Thursday, May 12, 2011

another Debbie in heaven

A few months back, I wrote this post about a dear friend's mother who had passed away. Today, I write about another dear friend who has left her daughers and husband.  These two ladies, as special as they were to me and to many others, have now joined mom in the glorious dancing with Jesus. As exciting as that is, it doesn't discount the sadness that the Leathers family is experiencing this day, 2 days after her death, and the day of the service of worship to remember her.

We left for the beach leaving some dear friends on the brink of ultimate grieving. Their mother and wife was lying in a hospice bed, unresponsive, and suffering from ALS in the last days of her earthly life. We knew the end was near, but surely thought it would be later in the week. We had spent some time by her bed the week prior and even made a late night visit to her on Sunday to say some last "good byes."  Sadly, she passed early Tuesday morning, and arrangements were made for visitation to be Wednesday and a service for Thursday.

Debbie was such a servant in the church, especially when it came to the children. She was always willing to help in the Sunday school classes, with the nurseries, and even taught in the preschool when I was first hired at the church.  Even after she was diagnosed, she continued to serve in these capacities in some form or fashion up until only about 2 or 3 months ago. She made the trek out to my house to visit with us right after Miriam was born, and we weren't venturing out too much and she loved it when Miriam and I visited after she got to be less mobile.

The life story of the Leathers' was so familiar to us, especially for their oldest daughter. I felt as if I had been reliving the 22 months of mom's illness and death all over again through her. Katie got married in June 2009 with her mom proudly walking down the aisle before her arrival. Less than a year later, her mom began showing signs of serious issues, and was later diagnosed with ALS. In the same way, Jeremy and I were only married for 6 months before the diagnosis of the deadly brain tumor was given to momma.Katie was by her mother's side in the year that followed as often as she could be and cared for her so her father and younger sister could rest. I had done just that for momma too. Katie and her husband Ryan do not have children yet (although I know for certain that soon Ryan will come around, and Katie will be such a wonderful mother!), nor did Jeremy and I during mom's illness or before her death.

With all of these similiarities, I knew the feeling of losing someone so close. And these are some good friends of ours who have given us a lot: numerous tickets to Panther games, their family refrigerator for our first newlywed apartment, and a hamper for Miriam's nursery, and some wonderful food are just a few of the tangible things that they offered graciously, but their time, love, and servant lives have been an inspiration to Jeremy and me over the past 6 years. We just couldn't miss out on an opportunity to be there during such a sad, yet joyful time for them, as their dear mother and wife is no longer suffering and is now a dear dancing partner with momma.  So we cut our vacation short and left after a short 45 hours at the beach to be by their side as they entered in to a new season of grieving.

Please pray for Jamey, her husband, as he returns to work and life without a helper and partner in crime.  Pray for her oldest daughter Katie, as she returns to life with her husband and begins to see what her "normal" life looks like.  Pray for the youngest daughter Laura, as she begins a rigorous 40-hr week 4 week job in a local pharmacy and returns back to her school work (she just completed her first year of pharmacy school). Such a dear family who has been saddened, but praise the Lord they know the Truth and have joy for the no longer suffering of Debbie.


Life on Surrey Lane said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, but thankful this family has you to lean on after experiencing something so similar.

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