Living and Dying. . . The Elizabeth Edwards Way: Ready

It’s December 7th, 2010. Yesterday, I got to learn, like some many others, that one of the bravest and most-admired women this side of eternity had stopped all her cancer treatments. I didn’t miss the fact that she had said at that point with a smile on her face, that we all have to learn to number our days. I was at our Prayer Meeting at church tonight when the Pastor asked for prayers for all bereaved including Elizabeth Edwards’s family. I was taken aback as I had been lost in work all day and hadn’t heard. Elizabeth Edwards had always maintained a special place in my heart for her loving and forgiving spirit. The news of her death brought me back to the blog therefore this night.

I looked over my earlier blog on Happy Mothers’ Day for Elizabeth and Connie: ( ). She absolutely was one resolute and classy Mama! Just loved her guts and plainness! But her death also got me thinking about several of the deaths we’ve encountered this past month.

Exactly two weeks ago, on November 23rd, our very good friend, Yak, a blazing star of his family and friends, suddenly passed away in Abuja, Nigeria in very unfortunate circumstances. Careless medical (in)attention was to blame. At the unbelievable age of 41, full of life, accomplishments, and generosity, Yakubu Abah had passed on leaving behind his devasted dear wife and daughter, a mourning mother, many bewildered brothers and sisters and numerous friends.

But as I wondered some more tonight, could he have known death was waiting for him that day? He had driven himself to the hospital that morning to be “checked out” for some pains in the joints, etc. Some anaesthesia had been administered and Yak never woke up. The shock is still numbing.

When a terminal illness comes knocking, one is unquestionably going to ask to nobody in particular, but many times of God, “Why me?” We could safely assume Elizabeth Edwards may have asked that. But because she had grown so much stronger from what she had termed the “worst day in her life” when her first son died suddenly at the tender age of 16, she may have been prepared enough to not bother with an idle question like “Why me?” From all indications, she was prepared. She had prepared as best as she could her family and her children, and had even decorated the home for Christmas. She was ready.

On the other hand, I doubt that Yak saw death coming that morning. I doubt that Jideofor, age 29, saw it coming as he unexpectedly slumped in front of his family in New York from an apparently unknown heart condition. He was gone before the paramedics could do much.

Nevertheless, “prepared or not”, it’s an appointment that awaits us all. Without any undue sense of morbidity, we live life abundantly as Jesus promised us with a fair sense that mortality is around the corner and tomorrow is not promised us. We plan as if we will live forever and live as if tomorrow may never come. Neither of the two propositions can be lived exclusively without dire results; finding and living the balance is the blessing.

According to one of Elizabeth Edward’s friends, she didn’t want it to be said that she lost the battle to cancer. Appropriately so. She lived well through cancer and the disappointments of man (aka estranged husband); she lived and died well.

To all the faithful who have departed, rest in peace in the Lord: Yak, Elizabeth, Jideofor, and all our departed loved ones.
To all the faithful who are here, live well in the Lord and be ready.


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