Last Christmas, the husband of our Children's Director from church was diagnosed with a blood lymphoma after the discovery of a tumor in his stomach. Thus began a miserable, painful, difficult road of medicine, chemotherapy, and hospital stays that ultimately ended last Tuesday in death. Not only is this man the wife of our colleague, their entire family is dear to us. This is the family that looks after our dog when we go on vacation. These are the folks that have been our friends from the beginning of our life in Sweden. We have known them for the entire 10 years and have enjoyed many significant moments of joy and sorrow together. We have tried to care for the entire family throughout the year but it has been a long, difficult, discouraging journey. Losing him last Tuesday night was sorrow and blessing mixed together. His road of suffering is over and we can rejoice in that. But the rest of us, his wife and kids in particular, are left to figure out life without their beloved spouse, father and friend. The sorrow is great and yet too, the hope is real.
For us, this is a deeply personal loss. We loved him as a church member but also as a friend and so the loss is pastoral yet also personal. Sorting through all of those feelings has been heavy and challenging. We know that we will walk the road ahead together, that we are not alone, that Ken is in a better place. And yet, we miss him and we long for his joy-filled presence to bless us once again.
Peace to his memory. May God grant us all the strength and the hope that we need to rebuild our world without him.