Two people who I have been praying for – for healing, comfort and strength in their sufferings – have sadly succumbed to pancreatic cancer within days of each other.
One is a respected work mentor, colleague and friend who has been a constant source of inspiration in living out my faith. The other, a dignified gentleman, has been a steady presence in the Catholic renewal community our family has been part of since I was 12 years old.
Apart from the dreaded illness that afflicted them both, another striking similarity I saw in both of them was a deep, unwavering faith – a faith that seemed to even thrive in the soil of so much pain and suffering.
An important aside: I am a self-confessed hypochondriac and any illness (imagined or otherwise) has always caused me much anxiety. My natural reaction is to get away – to rid myself of the source of the pain and unpleasantness – and make it quick, please!
Given this predisposition, the way these two holy people were able to live out their remaining days with so much grace, dignity and inner strength is definitely an inspiration to me. I am just amazed that up until their last breath, their lives reflected the glory of their Maker – how the presence of a loving God was still made evident in the midst of so much brokenness, pain and tears.
True, there is always that unmistakeable sadness that comes with death yet I find comfort in the indescribable possibility that we can breathe our last whilst finding deeper meaning in suffering – by clinging on to God’s faithfulness, mercy and promise that He “will prepare a place for us in His Father’s house” (John 14:2-3) – just as Ma’am Sai and Tito Libby so wonderfully showed us through their lives and death.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.