One year ago today, at just after 5 AM, my precious companion of over thirty-eight years slipped peacefully into the arms of the Saviour she loves. Donna had endured the ravages of pancreatic cancer with courage, grace, hope, humour, and a keen desire to finish well.
We all miss her, and we will never forget her. She provided a model for selfless love that few people I know have ever matched. The impact she had on people all over the world continues to amaze me.
You may remember this photograph of a giant amaryllis we had in our home while Donna was ill. On the morning she died, I turned around to look at the plant and discovered that the fourth and final bloom had opened during the night. It seemed providential—a picture of what our Father is doing in the lives of His children. He tends us and nurtures us so we will flourish wherever He plants us, conforming us to “the image of His Son,” but we will not be in full bloom until the moment we see Him face to face.
DJ’s amaryllis illustrates the discipleship process for me. God wants to use me to help others bloom spiritually, and He wants to use them to help me do the same. This is our purpose in life. She understood that, and she accomplished it more effectively than most.
On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us, have expressed your love and concern in generous and practical ways, and have ministered to us with your many messages of comfort and encouragement. We could not have gotten through this difficult year without you. We are enormously grateful.
One of the verses that sustained Donna throughout her fifteen-year struggle with cancer was Psalm 94.19:
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul.” (NKJV)
I thank God for the wonderful years He gave Donna and me as companions, lovers, teammates, parents, grandparents, mentors, and siblings in the Saviour. And I am thankful that I serve the one True God, the “God of all comfort,” Who produces beauty from ashes, brings joy in the morning, and upholds me with His steadfast love.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” PSA 116.15