Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Perspective

Last week a lady in eastern Colorado drew her last breath after a nearly three-decade battle with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). She is the only person I’ve been asked to pray would pass sooner rather than later.

I first met Bev right around my eighteenth birthday. She and her husband were attending a potential student recruitment day at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming with their youngest daughter. My dad and I were there, too. We all ended up seated at the same table.

Little did we know on that fateful day that their daughter and I would go on to share a dorm as sophomores at LCCC, after being unsuccessful in recalling each other’s names when asked if we had a preferential dormmate as incoming freshman. That we would form a deep friendship lasting well beyond our two years of attending the same community college.

This meant I extended several “Tell your mom hi,” comments toward Bev over the years. I saw her at graduation, and a few other events. I agreed with her opinion of a couple of my friend’s boyfriends, and helped decorate her home and yard for her daughter’s wedding to a wonderful man. I sat at her dining room table a handful of times, swapping stories with big cups of coffee near at hand.

Throughout all of this, I was one of the people outside of her family looking in as her MS progressed. I heard about her transition to a wheel chair, both when it became temporary, and permanent. I knew about changes to her pain medication, her multiple stints in Hospice, her difficult days, the sadness over the loss of her eyesight, and the challenges my friend faced as she took on more and more of her mother’s care. In reality, I likely knew about the tip of the ice burg, but it had an impact.

It was an impact on my faith and my perspective.

Not a lot of young adults have a parent with a life-altering, and eventually life-ending, disease. Sure, I knew my parents were mortal, but I didn’t really think of them as such. Yes, most girl’s mothers drive them crazy at some point, but, as my friend reminded me one day, it is a blessing to have a healthy mother to call up and both agree and disagree with. Sure, my employer wasn’t working out, but, I wasn’t considering moving home to care for a loved one as they died. Yes, I was moving to a new state three hours from what I considered home, but my parents would both be able to visit, and babysit grandkids someday. There hasn’t been much in the last decade-plus that I haven’t been able to find the good in when considering the alternative of Bev’s reality.

Bev wasn’t a perfect individual, but, she was a powerful Christian woman, and the Lord worked through her in big ways. She was right with God long before MS entered her life, which I have often thought meant she went through all she did for people such as myself to draw closer to the Lord through her example. Watching her walk in faith over the years taught both her daughter and I, and I suspect countless others, an awful lot about what it means to be a Christian.

As Bev’s MS slowly took its toll on her, and her family in many ways, I was asked on more than one occasion to pray that she be taken home to heaven post haste. That’s not an easy thing to pray, at least for me. I always had to add, “If it’s your will, Lord.”

When the day came last week, I heard she told her husband that she was going to WALK and talk with Jesus first, then ride a horse. I have seen her family express joy over the knowledge of where she is, and that she is free from her earthly pain. It has hit me that even in her death, she has managed to spread the word of God.

She clearly did several things right during her time on earth to have left behind a family who misses her dearly, but who are also rejoicing over her improved address and physical condition, and genuinely looking forward to the day they will each see her again.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12