Last February, around Valentine's Day we learned that my brother-in-law Mark had cancer. He under went surgery, and a large mass was removed from his abdomen, along with the several organs that the cancer had invaded.
The doctor admitted that some cancer was still left behind, in places that could not be breached by the knife. As soon as Mark was considered well enough to endure the next challenge, he began a very heavy chemotherapy regime.
Last Wednesday he had a MRI to determine if the chemo was having a good effect. On Mark's 51st birthday he was in the hospital and was soon to learn that the cancer had returned. A mass had formed again, just as large as before, and it is not in any way operable.
They discharged him to return to his wife of five years and his two young adult aged step-children, with the advice to get his affairs in order; he may only have two or three months to live.
Mark is a believer. He came to faith in the saving grace of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ around eight years ago. He then married a Christian woman and became active in a vibrant church, where he played worship music...he who before had rocked on the drums in clubs and videos. I've heard he has written faith music, and that he plays mostly bass guitar at church. We never got to see him in action in that capacity, but judging from the notes left by church members on his Caring Bridge link, he apparently has been much admired and his music much enjoyed.
The number of friends from his band days, and work places (he himself had worked as a radiology therapist...he worked with so many who had battle with cancer...) have left caring messages for Mark that have been quite comforting to all of us. As typical with siblings with different life paths and interests, there had been little overlap between our lives. It has been good to know his life has been full of friend and lot of fun.
Most of all, it is good to know that while parting is hard for all of us to consider at this time, (he is too young!) the parting will hold his healing. He will be fine, forever, and his only longing will be to find us all with him in heaven one day.
For now, we pray for a miracle, of course. Barring that gift, we pray for ease of pain, sorrow, and all the feelings that go with departing. We pray for that for all of us. For all of us here on earth who know that death is never timely, and dread the inevitable physical outcome for each of us.
The body is weak, and fails...the soul takes flight...and is an eternal creation. Like during the birth of a child, we as a family are labouring in our spirit for the end of Mark's season of life here on earth, and for the release of life, like a birth, into heaven.
Please pray for Mark's mom and dad, his brother and sister, nieces and nephews, wife and step children. Pray that through the dark days ahead they will still have a vision of light, a light of knowing that there IS a good eternal future ahead for Mark.