by Jane G
My younger sister passed away from pancreatic cancer on December 1, 2012. As part of the memorial service, her husband asked me to say something before the homily. This is what I shared about my little sister, Nan:
Following Nan’s diagnosis with inoperable terminal pancreatic cancer in October 2011, I had the privilege of spending time with her over many different weekends and other times. She and I would stay up talking into the early morning hours after Nathan went to bed. During those times, she spoke very openly about her fears, her concerns and her hopes and dreams. From the beginning she shared that she desperately needed time. How much time she didn’t know, but she absolutely wanted to have the amount of time that she needed. What did she need to see happen during that time? She needed to see that God is real, that He loved her, that by accepting Christ she would receive His gift of eternal life. Her faith journey was born in darkness and fear as she learned of her diagnosis. Her full acceptance of Jesus Christ was woven with the witness and prayers and loving support of her family, friends, Pastor Kenny and the congregation of New Salem Baptist Church, including so many of you present here today. Nancy did see that God is real and she did see that she was right with the Lord and was ready to receive His gift of eternal life. She needed to see clearly that Nathan was going to be okay . To Nathan, I would say, you were the love of her life and you modeled so faithfully the love that husbands are called to show, as Christ loved the church. Nancy appreciated all of your care and as she was able to receive the love of those around her, she was able to see that you were going to be okay. She was able to see that you were going to be loved and cared for and supported by those same family and friends that had loved and supported her through her journey. She needed to see that Matt and Will, the joys of her life, truly understood what each of them meant to her and what her hopes and dreams for each son were. To Matt and Will, I would say that your mom loved you more than life itself. You were the joy of her life, and she was always your biggest cheerleader. She cheered you when you took your first step. She cheered you on your first day of kindergarten. She cheered you from the sidelines during soccer, basketball, football, cross country and any other sport you chose. From the sideline, she was a constant and loud voice of support. Matt, she was so proud of your accomplishments and delighted in talking about all that you have done and continue to accomplish. She would be so proud of how you have been there for your dad and brother this week. Will, she was so proud of you as well, and would have been so happy to see how much support you have given to your dad and Matt this week. She hoped so much that you would find opportunities to express that creativity that you have always had. She would marvel at the beautiful memory boards you and Matt have created. In those final weeks, she had the opportunity to talk with each of you about how she felt, and likewise you were able to share with her. She was able to see that each of you knew how much she loved you and that as you continue to mature, you will always know how much she believed in you and how she was confident that you will have continued success in life. When times are tough, remember how much she believed in you and cheered you on. Remember her on the sidelines yelling Kick it Matt!!! Go Will go!!
To the other family and friends, I just want to share another blessing that Nan got to see during the last year. As many of you know, she had a lot of insecurities about herself and whether she mattered to others. She was absolutely overwhelmed with the love and support you extended to her, Nathan and the boys. She spoke frequently and tearfully with such gratitude about the cards, phone calls, visits and prayers offered by so many people. She kept every single card, and many of them are displayed on the memory boards that Will and Matt created. Nathan printed text messages for her and she shared those with us on Thanksgiving. Many of those are also on the memory boards. She truly had no idea how much she meant to so many until this last year. Your love for her touched her so deeply. Nancy was blessed to have 14 months to purposefully connect with family and friends in ways that she had not done before. Her message for us is Don't wait!! Don’t wait until life hits you with an incurable disease to make the most of the precious time we have with those family and friends. Nancy needed time to see, and God was so good that despite her body being ravaged by the cancer, He preserved her corneas so that she was able to donate them so that someone else might see!!!!!! What Nancy would want for each of us is that we see that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that by accepting Him, we too will have eternal life. Nancy wanted today to be a day of celebration, so let us all celebrate Nancy’s life here with us and rejoice in her life eternal with our Lord and Savior.
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