Written March 25, 2012 by Mary Ann Snyder
The calendar said it was officially still winter, but the weather declared summer. This past week we had a short summer with 80 degree days, cloudless skies, the warmth of the sun…Lance and Francine’s home adorned with signs of new life in the form of tiny buds, emerging tulips and cherry blossoms towering over a lavender carpet of blooming myrtle. Lance sharing lunch with friends on his back deck. Summer in March…A gift from God for my summer son and his mother’s heart.
Lance’s beloved Francine always at his side…a sudden trip to the ER…another MRI…the diagnosis repeated…her eyes…his eyes…
On a similar sunny, warm Friday in October, 18 months ago in the same ER, the Dr. spoke these words, “This isn’t what I wanted to tell you.” Now we are told: “Treatment is no longer working; the tumor has spread. We will make him comfortable.”
I have learned your heart can break in silence or in the midst of beeping monitors in a busy hospital. When the heart breaks, a beautiful thing occurs–love is released in abundance. The constant outpouring of affection, care, concern, and prayer from near and far has truly sustained all of us…And as so much love is released into the atmosphere, it gently falls down as answered prayer. Our family experienced these prayer showers in many unexpected ways on a regular basis…Jesus truly showed up daily…He has walked with us and has provided us with Daily Bread.
This is a heart trembling story of cancer taking our Lance. But I want you to know of the beautiful love story I have witnessed daily within this affliction…a story of pure love, hopes and dreams turned upside down…Lance’s beautiful young bride becomes his extraordinary caregiver.
A medical advocate, taking charge, scheduling appointments, treatments, keeping up with other family medical situations, loving nieces and nephews, running the pharmacy and arranging her schedule to have her day off on treatment days, accompanying Lance and his dad on an exotic fishing trip to Belize after radiation, planning a surprise 30th birthday party for her prince, accepting her mother-in-law’s constant presence and concerns, never once losing patience…and all with grace and a smile…Yes, this young woman is loving and gracious beyond her 28 years; I have witnessed the love of 50 years packed into 2&1/2 years…The true, pure, sacrificial love we know as agape love.
This is the gift we have been given from our daughter Francine…That she loves our Lance so well…And Francine, we couldn’t love you more! God placed you and Lance together for a love larger than life and we all have been blessed. May the Lord honor you for your faithfulness.
Our children made continuous trips home long distance to spend time with Lance, to help him with finishing house projects, to encourage Francine, to assist Allen with business, and simply hold his parents’ hearts. My children, you are loving, heroic, and sacrificial…Your father and I love you forever and a day…
The prayer chains of friends, families, churches, and even those we have never met. What a beautiful “cushion” to catch us…We are forever grateful. Know we have returned prayers for you…
Ricky, Mike, Brent, and Jimmy for their friendship and expertise in finishing Lance’s basement with him…Seeing his designs become reality. How can we thank you enough??!
For Howard Hanna Real Estate–Lance’s employer–for their kindness, patience, and love shown to our son as he continued to work and to those agents who helped him close his sales…Our deepest gratitude…
For all the new friends and shared stories we take from this journey. Thank you.
For Catholic Hospice.
As the ER felt like the sinking Titanic, I remember the final scene of the movie when Rose walks up the steps to Jack to the applause of all…Yes! Restoration will come to each of our small stories in the Divine Romance of eternity when all our broken hearts will be restored by our Father and all things will be made new (Rev 21:5).
At this time of year I remember another Mother who gave her Son in the name of love. If I keep her heart in my mind’s eye, I can accept the will of God, even without understanding. As St. Augustine said, “Faith is believing what we cannot see, so one day we will see what we have believed.” Mystery.
Father Richard Rohr has helped me to understand if we don’t let pain transform us, we will surely transmit it…Reflect on this…Continue with that love and those prayers in a very hurting world and you will make a difference as you have done for the Snyder Family. May all of our sorrow and loss be turned into compassion.
Life, suffering, death, resurrection. The Easter story. Our story. Mercy. Glory. Gratitude for our beloved son, our Lancelot with the kind heart…that wonderful smile…that twinkle in those beautiful blue eyes…You are so loved…
–Your grateful mom
“Making peace with change is at the core of every journey”