Last Saturday Morning at about 11:20, I experienced a most Unusual Blessing as I met and spoke with for the very first time, Jan, a terminally ill cancer patient at the Hospice House here in our community. Although I am great friends with her Brother-in-Law, Danny, a recording engineer, I had not met her.
My reason for visiting was one of our pastors scheduled to visit and also Jan’s close friend, had to be out of town. I’ve experienced previous circumstances, but was unprepared for the atmosphere I approached as I unexpectedly entered her room.
Visibly frail and in obvious pain, Jan greeted me with the warmest, brightest smile. She asked her husband Steve to adjust the two pillows behind her back so she could sit up and talk with me. Her parents were in the room, both in their 90’s, Ed & Helen. You could see their tears as they introduced themselves, smiling and hugging. Steve shared memories of how they’d met and how God had blessed their union and how grateful they were for the time they’ve enjoyed each other. Jan grinningly chimed in, filling in blanks and making sure he told certain antedotes correctly, Mom & Dad laughing along. Jan kept making eye contact with me, keeping me engaged. When she would wince a bit, Steve would tenderly rub her feet. The Peace, Joy and Love was so vibrant and evident between them, you could feel it between your fingers.
When Danny & Jan’s Sister Nancy arrived, I stepped out to have a brief word with them.
Upon our return, the rest of Jan’s family was gathering into the room. I introduced myself and simultanously prepared a respectful departure to give them appropriate privacy. Jan had settled back into her bed, eyes closed. I expressed that I would see everyone the next morning, but it was not to be. Jan passed into the arms of Jesus later that evening.
I’ve repeatedly asked myself: Do I have the capacity to express such transparent warmth, graciousness and my brightest smile to a perfect stranger who would come to me in my torment, in the final hours of my life? Could I share with them so openly the landmark moments of my life and encourage them so openly?
Janice Carol (Ocarz) Thompson was able to thoroughly challenge me within the span of just 27 minutes, of how a life so obviously well lived can transcend even the throes of death, when your heart, character, integrity and faith and family are firmly intact.
I’ve got a lot to learn and I am very thankful for the lesson.
Steve, Ed, Helen, Joe, Diane, Tara, Mike, Nancy, Dan, Maryellen & Fred, thank you for the opportunity to meet experience such a wonderful spirit.