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Words Fail Me

My Sister Jan, 1979It is a rare moment that I cannot think of anything to say in a situation. Sure, I can say the wrong thing, and often do… but there are times I can think of nothing.

Now is one of those times.

My oldest sister Jan, 55, is dying of cancer. Except for the occasion of an absolute miracle, her time on earth is coming quickly to a close.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago, and at the time it had already spread to other areas of her body… bones, spine, and eventually her brain.

She has undergone all the treatments the specialists can give her or even think of… and has survived some six years. This week the doctors sent her home from the hospital, and her husband Dan — one of the finest men I have ever met — has arranged for hospice care.

Dan and Jan Geist just celebrated their 32nd anniversary in June.

She always kept a sense of humor...There are just no words to describe how I feel. I have run out of words on all fronts. I don’t know what to say to them, to God, to my family. I don’t even have words in my thoughts.

It is, in the end, just a part of life.

The part I do not know how to talk about.

7 Comments

  1. Thinking of you, David. I lost my dad to malignant melanoma which metastasized to the brain. My loss was in Feb 2004, and it has still left me without words. I put him in a hospice facility after City of Hope could do nothing further, as that was his wish. I must say the hospice personnel (nurses and volunteers) made his transition comfortable, as well as respectable and dignified, and the comfort they provided to me – both physical and emotional – was more than I could ever ask for. They helped made the process of dying beautiful.

  2. Sweetheart, your photos and what you did write about Janice have been a blessing in themselves. I, too, am at a loss for words. I have told many friends, please pray for me. I don’t even know how to pray anymore. I have run out of begging. And it’s hard to praise.
    So, I am numb. And dumb.
    Love,
    Mom

  3. David, I am feeling that way, too, although the person is not as close as your sister is to you. I was in shock 2 weeks ago, when my sister told me that her former roommate had lung cancer, which has spread, and they also found diabetes. It was sudden. She started chemo, but had a downward turn. She didn’t want anymore treatments. I gather that they are going to just let her go. I’m just in shock, and, like you said, numb. What do you do, what do you say? I don’t know, although I have lost almost all my family through the years. I felt like there is something that I should be doing or saying, but my mind is blocked. I thought that I should paint, and started to draw. Instead, I wrote my thoughts and memories, then posted a short thing on my blog, without getting into much detail. I know that she can’t see it, but maybe it will touch others, and, maybe, she will get some strength from my thoughts. I haven’t even seen her in years, but I just feel so sorry for her, and helpless. She does have good friends who are with her.
    I’m so sorry about your sister, too. So much suffering.
    Maybe, when words fail us, it is time to switch over to that right brain, and just let it work. The left brain seems to be shutting off, to rest. It can’t cope and is protecting us.
    My son was killed at age 11, years ago. So, I do understand how it is to lose a child, and for things to happen suddenly. But, life always seems to hand us things that throw us for a loop.
    Look up Rena Tarbet. She is a long time cancer survivor, who I have met and heard. I had a tape she made on Cancer, but I let someone use it and didn’t get it back. She is quite an inspiration, and she also does some motivational and inspirational speaking. She is amazing.
    Good luck to you all. You are in my prayers.

  4. I cannot imagine what you are going through, David. But my prayers and thoughts are with you and your sister and your family.

  5. Selective quotations, from the New American Standard Bible.
    John 11 and 12:
    11:3-5. “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is … for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
    19. and many .. had come … to console them concerning their brother.
    21, 32. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
    33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled.
    35-37. Jesus wept. And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?”
    12:24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
    – – – – –
    Romans 8:
    26-27. And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
    38-39. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, … nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    – – – – –
    Philippians 1:
    23. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
    – – – – –
    See also 1 Corinthinians 15:35-58.
    49: And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [Complete; with a full head of hair once again!]

  6. David,

    I want you to know Lou Ann and I are heartsick at Jan’s passing, but have absolute faith she is already either painting or decorating heaven with her smile and laughter.

    David and Lou Ann

  7. There is no human language that can touch the deepest parts of life. Only the Lord is there — may He comfort the wordless places of your soul.

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