As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.—Isaiah 66:13 (RS V)
My husband, John, had just entered hospice care in our home. It now seemed clear that the course of his cancer would soon lead us to physical separation. John was strong, quiet, accepting. Yet I had times when my grief was inconsolable.
One afternoon as I knelt beside the couch where he lay, I leaned down, taking his shoulders in my arms and resting my chin on his chest. Looking at him, I said, “I love you so much!”
He gazed at me for a moment, then tenderly brushed the hair from my face with his hands. “This is a big, hard thing,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
It was rare for my rugged, farmer-rancher husband to say, “I’m sorry.” Over the years of our marriage, he acted out his apologies. He might give me a dainty wildflower. Or an unusually brilliant small stone.
That tender moment on the couch, when he brushed my face and acknowledged the harshness of the journey that lay ahead for me—I clung to it like gold, stuffing it inside the pockets of my memory. I was beginning to understand that I needed to watch for and hold onto glimmers of comfort, no matter where they came from. The memory of John’s loving words. A bird’s song. The breeze. Scripture. A sudden inner washing of peace. These would bear me up in the days to come.