Lately, I’ve been tired, and stressed out, and working long hours, so I thought I’d take a day off last 29 February 2016 to relax and just hang out with my husband and daughter at home. No plans to go anywhere or do anything – just stay in.
One of the first things I read after I woke up was the blog “This Life I Live” by country singer/song-writer Rory Feek. That day, he wrote about how the end was coming for his 40-year-old wife, who was dying of cancer. Sensing that she didn’t have a lot of time left, she called her entire parents and sisters to say goodbye to them individually. The last one she called was her two-year-old daughter Indy. Her husband described this photo as “one last kiss.”
It was heartbreaking. No mother wants her child to grow up without her. We all want to be there for our children – for every milestone, for every challenge. We want to be there when they start school. We want to be there when they graduate. We want to be there when they turn 18. We want to be there when they get married.
All of that she knew she wouldn’t be around for. I can’t imagine how painful that must be. Yet she continued trusting in God.
Joey Feek passed away several days after I first read her story, on March 4. I said a prayer for the husband and daughter she left behind.
Before I went to bed that same day, I finally took the time to visit the “Courageous Catie” Facebook page, which a few of my friends have shared recently. It was about a feisty three-year-old whose disease could not be diagnosed in the Philippines, so the parents made the decision to bring her to Singapore. One picture in particular made my heart ache so much that I started crying.
Lia noticed that I was crying and asked what was wrong. I said a little girl is very sick and it made me really sad. She said, “Don’t worry Mommy, she will get better.”
I prayed for Courageous Catie nearly every day since then, and checked the FB page for updates at least twice a day. I rejoiced when she seemed to do better, and was troubled whenever she seemed unwell. And then the day everyone was dreading came. When the parents posted that she was with Jesus.
I was devastated. I was having lunch with two colleagues, when my phone rang. I rejected my sister’s call, but saw a message from my husband. “B, wala na si Catie.” (B, Catie is gone.). Then I saw the same message from my sister, brother-in-law and a volunteer who sends food to Catie’s parents in the hospital.
My colleagues asked me if anything was wrong, and with a shaking voice I told them Catie’s story. Good thing we were almost done with lunch because all I wanted was to go somewhere private to cry. I spent about an hour or so hiding in our office’s comfort room, just weeping and praying.
I asked God – how could you take such a precious little girl from her young parents? How could you force them to say goodbye to her? But God reminded me – is she not better here with Me than she could ever be with the parents?
From that moment on, I started to only pray for comfort for her parents and her family, and also for more people to hear about God’s love because of her death.