Editor’s Note: the following poem was written by Karen Mulder’s friend Ruth, who attends church with Karen.
Surgery to remove pancreas, spleen and a portion of the liver.
“O Lord, my friend is very ill.
Grant me the wisdom and the strength
to walk this road with her.”
It began with a promise to be there.
She is so brave; so beautiful.
Always there is laughter.
Three more surgeries. Three years.
Teaching is her life, her joy.
Children her love.
She returns to it valiantly, always positive.
I am in awe of her determination,
How do I fulfill my promise to you, friend?
I pray quietly, constantly.
I watch for signals.
When to enter, to help.
Then to quietly support her from afar.
I push sometimes.
I am rebuffed.
“Lord, help me to listen more carefully.”
I am in awe of her determination.
Support has many faces:
I am angry.
She is composed, resigned, but always determined.
We are so different!
I try to listen,
to read signals and needs.
I try not to push.
We are different.
Hold her hand.
Drive her to appointments, wait together.
Choose the “right” wig.
“Lord, grant me wisdom.”
I am blessed to have such a friend.
A new house purchased.
A new focus.
She is stronger and so happy.
We share the joy.
And then darkness!
Another surgery, an end to teaching.
Endless trips to doctors, chemotherapy, radiation, MRIs.
She is brave.
No tears from her.
I weep; I pray; I listen.
In spite of sadness.
Her skin turns black.
My black, Dutch friend.
She craves artichokes – we lunch.
She is leaving me.
Never a complaint.
I weep as she sleeps, so weak.
It won’t be long.
I hold her hand.
My friend is gone.
“Lord, thank you for my friend.
I am bettered for being part of her life.”
“And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of my hand.”
The above poem is from The Compassionate Congregation, pages 152-157.