Every One I loved Died

I was placed in a position to experience grief in a huge dose a few years ago. Could I handle it and keep my sanity? I wasn't sure at the time. God surely was with me or I wouldn't have made it.
It started out when my best friend wrote me a letter. She lived 500 miles away and the letter simply said, My friend, I'm dying. I need you. My husband so generously agreed to drive me the distance to spend some time with her. We had been best friends for probably 15 years. She was the kind of person that made you want to take care of her. She was unmarried with a young daughter. They were very poor.  I didn't have much either but I only had myself to take care of, so I often picked them up on Sunday for dinner at my house.  When I could I bought things for her daughter. I loved them like my own family.  My mother was sick and I was taking care of her so we were only able to keep in touch by letters and an occasional phone call.

I'll never forget the day I received the letter from her. The way my heart just sank and the tears were uncontrollable. I've never been able to make friends easily and she was so precious to me. We made that long drive and I spent every minute that I could at the hospital with her for three days. We talked about all the things we had done together and all the things we wished we would be able to do but couldn't because of her illness. I would sit for hours reading, or singing.  That seemed to soothe her. She was in such pain. Oh, why did she smoke so much all her life? I tried to get her to stop, but she just couldn't seem to get out of that awful addiction and now she was paying with her life. She did ask me one last favor, which surprised me at the time. I hadn't realized that my witnessing about the Lord to her had made that much of a difference.  She said to me, "promise me you will do for my daughter what you did for me."  When I asked what I'd done for her she said, "make sure she goes to heaven."  I was so thankful that I'd told her about God and how He loved her so many times.  I thought, 'This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.'

Finally the three days were over and I had to go back home.  I couldn't leave my mother any longer than that.  In three weeks I received a call from her daughter.  She just said "she's gone, and I feel so alone."  I tried to stay in touch with her, but she finally stopped writing to me.  I can only hope that she has found the Lord and will meet her mom again someday.

It was about 6 months later that my baby sister was taken to the hospital. She was 40 years old but always my baby sister. From the time she was 8 she had taken injections for Sugar Diabetes.  Over the years she has experienced such pain and never could adjust to living like that. Her self esteem was almost nothing and she didn't do well in school.  She never would stay on the diet she needed in order to stay  healthy.  My mother had spent many nights in the hospital with Ann over the years, but I never really felt the need to do that. I visited often when she was sick, but mom was the one she needed. This time it was different.  Mom was sick too, she had cancer and couldn't do the things she used to to so I took the responsibility of looking after my sister.  I woke up that morning with such an urgency to see Ann. She was in the hospital at least 150 miles from home, but I just had to be with her. I got my brother in law to drive me, since my husband also had cancer and wasn't able to travel now like he used to. Leaving him and my mom to look after each other for the few days I was to be gone, I went to visit my sister. I thought it would be like all the other times she was in the hospital, a few days to get her blood sugar regulated and we'd both be going back home.

We had some quality time together.  We talked about our years of growing up, our concern for mom. We shared a love for God so we read the bible together.  We both loved to sing so when we were in the room alone, we would sing a little, but she was getting weaker every day instead of getting better. On the third day, I left the motel early and went to her room. As I rounded the corner toward her room, I had such an uneasy feeling.  It only worsened as I looked into her room and saw that her bed was gone.  She was no where to be found. I can't even describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew something awful had happened. I started looking for a nurse or doctor, any one that could tell me where she was.  A nurse finally told me that they had been trying to call my room.  My sister had gotten so bad, they were trying to keep her alive until I could get there and tell them what to do. They informed me that they could go on working with her, but she was so fragile it might break her breast bones.  She might live an hour or so at best,  so when they ask me if they should go on with it or let her go, I didn't even hesitate. "I know her heart is right with God, please let her rest in peace."
I stood there with her as she slipped away to be with her maker. I kissed her cheek and whispered, "I love you, I'll see you in a little while." Then she was gone. Again I thought, 'This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.'

I got through those two losses, with much heartache.   I thought 'how strong I'm turning out to be'. I didn't realize I was just pushing these things to the back of my mind where I couldn't feel the pain. I had so much to do I couldn't afford to feel all that grief. Sometime shortly after my sister died, my dog had to be put to sleep. My husband was so weak by this time that I felt I had to be the strong one about this. I took it upon myself to be the one to hold her while the vet was giving her the injection that would take her out of my life forever. I cried so hard over losing my precious friend, just a dog but so close to me. Again after a good cry, I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had my mom and my husband to care for. My mom was getting worse. I would schedule their Chemo-therapy on the same day. We lived in a small town so I'd have to drive them 50 miles to the hospital.  I would take my husband first, he was more capable of going through the treatment by himself, my mom was timid and afraid, so even though it would break my heart to leave him, I'd get him settled and go with my mom for her treatment in a hospital a few miles away.  When she was finished, we would go and pick up my husband who had been sitting alone waiting for an hour or so.

This went on for 6 months after Ann had died, and then my mom couldn't make it any longer. I knew the time was close. She had gotten to the place where she couldn't do anything for herself.   My husband helped me as much as he could, but he was weak too.  My mom and I were so close.  It was as if we were one spirit. She couldn't speak for the last couple of weeks but I always knew what she needed or was trying to tell me with a certain look. I knew she was so tired and wanted to go on home, but she was worried about me.  I had worked so hard over the last year or so taking care of her and my sister and my husband. I had to tell her it was okay, that I would be fine. I said "Mom, you've waited all your life to meet Jesus, now you can go and spend eternity with Him" She smiled at me, I said "I love you Mom."  For the first time in a couple of weeks, she spoke.  She said so clearly,  "I love you, Carrie."  With that she slipped away to be with her Jesus.  I sat there thinking again 'the hardest thing I've ever had to do'.  I felt so alone after she died. I begged God, "Please don't let me be left alone, don't take Ross too.  At least wait, I can't take losing them both."  He was so gracious to me, he let me keep Ross for another year and a half after losing mom. But that's another story. I am writing a story from the journal I kept while we went through those months and years of chemotherapy.

The only way I got through the grief of losing all the people that I loved the most was to have God in my life.  Still I just made it.  I wanted to give up and die myself so many times but He was always there by my side, helping me through the hard times.

Prayer is the only answer.

by Carrie Kinyon 2001