Last night my sister-in-law called to let us know that her daughter's husband, Patrick, will be transferred from the ICU to hospice care when an appropriate placement can be arranged. That will probably be the first of next week.
Traumatic brain injury from the Columbus Day car accident coupled with subsequent strokes and other complications combined to make the doctors' recommendation that it is time to say goodbye to him.
We'll have Thanksgiving with a heavy heart, but with gratefulness nonetheless for the grace that abounds when family, friends and acquaintances support our precious niece Carol and her five year old daughter Annie and our family as well as Patrick's family.
The picture here is one drawn by my niece, M.E., in her preschool class the Thanksgiving after she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The kids were asked to draw what they were grateful for and M.E.'s teacher wrote the message for her on the picture.
My brother (her father) emailed this to me last week as a reminder about what we should be truly thankful for. What a timely reminder! M.E. passed away in 1999 at the age of 9 after battling cancer for 4 years. Yet she had a mature faith that continues to inspire us and comforts me today as we have another Thanksgiving anticipating loss.
Paul tells in his first letter to the Thessalonians:
"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." 1Thess.4:13-15
This Thanksgiving, like M.E., we are thankful for Jesus and the promise of eternal life.