Please keep my family in your thoughts this week

My wife’s mother, Mary, passed away suddenly yesterday afternoon.  She hasn’t been well for some time, but not sick either which made her death a surprise to our family.  My father-in-law died only three years ago; he and my wife were very close.  And unfortunately, his death is still very fresh for her and this only compounds her grief.

Her death comes at the beginning of a renewed relationship which was interrupted by some family turmoil.  The tragedy is that she missed three years of her grandchildren, but the blessing has been the past few months of the absolute enjoyment of our family.  Mary was thoroughly elated to see her two grand-daughters, and far from being sad when leaving, she just looked forward to the next visit.

Recently I have been feeling very uncomfortable about death.  My cousin, who was only a year or two my junior passed away suddenly from cancer.  Mary, and some others in my life have passed on recently has really set me on edge.

Cancer doesn’t give warnings, and often, neither do heart attacks.  Both affect otherwise healthy people, seemingly without any rhyme or reason.  I know my Savior has redeemed me and forgiveness for my many transgressions is mine, but that isn’t easing my tension.  Nonetheless, for the first time in my life, I am feeling my mortality, and I don’t like it.

It is further disconcerting that my father and I are not on speaking terms.  Not at my behest, but his, and unfortunately, it is not something that I have the ability to repair.  I have tried to keep my own frustration with this situation in check, but for obvious reasons it’s not easy.  Being somewhat helpless in my own familial “feud”, Mary’s death is very sobering.  Hopefully upon its news, my own father will be softened enough to take steps to our own reconciliation.

Having said all that, admittedly with vagueness, please keep my wife in your thoughts, she will need it.  If you are inclined to pray, please petition for strength, courage, and grace.


  1. I’m sorry to hear that. Death is a part of life, and we can mitigate the pain of loss by celebrating the memory of that close relationship. With your father, being open is sometimes all you can do, and maybe this latest loss is an opportunity to reach out again, even if he doesn’t respond, you’ll be comforted that you’re doing all you can.

  2. Sorry to hear about that, John

    Surround yourself with friends and family and tell them how much they mean to you.

  3. Certainly will keep you and your family in prayer. There is nothing like death to remind us that the questions that we toss around on this website really are important issues – not just philosophical musings. We all have a finite amount of time to determine what this life is all about…

    I went through a period of similar angst about death earlier this year combined with some serious doubts about my faith. But with a lot of prayer and study, I came through that period with a renewed (almost “resurrected”) faith that has really brought me to some unexpected places. The one piece of advice that I freely tell anyone facing similar situations is that I really learned that we (as Christians) are really designed for community. As long as I kept my doubt and fear “internal”, I continued to struggle. But as soon as I opened up about my doubt and fear to some fellow-Christians, God began heal and transform it into some situations and experiences that have been useful to others. It’s amazing to see God take the most negative things in this life and use them for His purposes. By your brutally honest post, I can tell you are already well on your way to letting God use this time in your life to accomplish great things.

    All the best.

  4. Again, I’m sorry to hear about your mother-in-law.

    As Jason said, death is indeed a part of life. But you’re yet a young man, John. I wouldn’t worry too much.

    Of course, young people get cancer and have heart attacks, but it doesn’t happen all that often. Three-years working emergency medicine and I’ve never seen it. It’s pretty rare. It happens, but it’s rare.

    • The reason I find cancer so unnerving is that there isn’t anything you can do about it. If you eat red meant or don’t, if you drink or don’t, if you smoke or don’t. Etc. So its not like you can point to something and say, well if I just do (or don’t do) this or that then I won’t get cancer. You just get it or you don’t.

      I am thankful for the well wishes here. Hopefully this unease passes. I’m not a hypochondriac, I guess its just what I consider a lot of close people going in relatively close proximity.

  5. My condolences to your wife in such a difficult time. I will pray for her to find peace and healing, and of the things you’ve asked.
    Death is one of the most difficult things we deal with as humans… some people go through the stages of grief like a scratched skipping record while others go straight through them. Some deal with it for years after a loved one has passed while others don’t seem to miss a beat. Some reflect on themselves and that reflection causes them to change, while others carry on as if nothing is different. I suppose it all depends on the person. Most people think about their mortality at some point or another in their life. You are not alone in your thinking. Too many people don’t and end up causing their loved ones much financial grief after an unexpected passing. I am not sure if your looking for advise about your father or just venting… I am in a similar situation with my mother and have been for 7yrs. Most people will tell you to try and reconcile the relationship. I suppose that’s good advise if the circumstance calls for it, but if not then there is not a lot you can do. I went through a lot of turmoil dealing with it and that lasted for years. If the situation with your father threatens your own family unit, find a way to move forward. I know that sounds cold but sometimes its all you can do. Continue to pray for him, let God deal with it. You know he won’t abandoned you or your prayers. He may not answer them the way YOU want him to answer them, but he is listening, and most likely answering them in a way different from your own.
    Hebrews 13:5
    (a little out of context, but still: God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”)
    Isaiah 46:9-10
    Jeremiah 29:11
    Psalm 139
    Romans 8:28
    2Corinthians 5:1

  6. The issues with my father are very much in his court. It’s not often when someone can sit back and say “It’s not my fault” but in this case, without going into detail, my wife and I have tried to reconcile and there is no receptivity on his part. He is quite stubborn and as prideful a man as I have ever met. Granted, he is very generous and willing to help people who need it. But when he holds a grudge, he doesn’t give.

  7. John,
    I am sorry to hear of your Mother-in-law. With the greatest sincerity- please extend my best wishes to your wife in her time of need. If you need someone to talk to, I want you to know that I am available. If there is any way I can help- please let me know.

  8. I am thankful that we do not mourn as those who have no hope, but we believe that Jesus Christ has overcome the grave and that our resurrection is sure. We are going through a similar rough time with my father-in-law. The doctors give him 6 months, maybe. I hate death, but I am hopeful that when Jesus said “It is finished!” that victory over the grave was secured.

    The grave is not the end for those who have yielded to the sovereignty of Christ in this life!

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