On a Friday we learned that Howard had multiple masses in his abdomen. At that time the doctors in Denver, where we were visiting, thought he had a primary kidney cancer that had spread throughout his abdomen and pelvis. We flew home on Saturday. I worked on being brave for my beloved. On Sunday I sat by the lake alone and cried. With tears and words I cried out to my God. “If I could have been the one to write this story, Father, I certainly wouldn’t have saved him from a massive heart attack 6 years ago to let him suffer now. Nevertheless, I know your thoughts are higher than mine and your ways higher than mine. I know you love my husband. I know your plans are for good and not for evil. I know you numbered Howard’s days before he was born. I know good comes out of suffering for your children, but this is so hard. Please help.”
When I told our son Jim about my conversation with the Lord, he replied, “Oh, Mom, if Dad had died 6 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the last 6 years of memories!” Jim’s daughter Miah, who is nine, had just been baptized and in her testimony shared that the person who had most helped her believe in Jesus was her Papa Stone. The last 6 years were about leaving a godly heritage.
Yesterday, a friend at church gently reminded me that the way Howard and I walk this journey will be the blazing of a trail for others who might also have to follow after us – for others who are watching how we cope with this. I am reminded that whatever time is left on planet earth for my husband and for me, we have a responsibility to set the bar, to leave an example of what faith looks like in the valley of the shadow of death. I know and believe the God we love with give us grace and strength.