Today I got one of those phone calls you never want to get.
It was my mother-in-law, calling to tell me that Jacob’s last remaining grandparent, Papa, had passed away.
It wasn’t totally unexpected – when you’re in your 80s with failing health, it’s sort of inevitable. But it did happen quite quickly, and I was left with a pit in my stomach, dreading the news I had to share.
We went outside to sit in the swing. As we quietly soaked in the sunshine and enjoyed the warm spring morning, I distinctly remember thinking: I don’t really want to say anything. Because once I do, he’s going to hurt.
But the words came out, and I tried to comfort as best as I could. I could see it in his eyes: If only this were two months from today. We’d be there.
Being there. It’s the hardest part of being here. Missed birthdays and funerals. Camping trips and family holidays. We’ve missed so much these last few years… and it is a sacrifice that we do not make alone; it is one those on the other side of the ocean must also make. One they didn’t get to choose.
Most days it is OK. But when you have to give your husband news that his grandfather died, a few short months from when his grandmother passed away… well, it’s the kind of thing that makes me question if this is even worth it.
Immediately I felt very strongly that Jacob needed to go home for the funeral. He didn’t get to attend his grandmother’s, but I didn’t think he should miss another one. He was close to his grandpa, and he needs to be with his family; to feel like he’s still a part of them. But just a few weeks ago, we bought tickets to go home this summer – our first trip home in a year, and they weren’t cheap. (And as full-time volunteers, we don’t have much money for travel budgets.) Buying those non-refundable and non-exchangable tickets left us feeling a bit queasy, and I knew we weren’t in a position to be able to purchase another one for such a quick trip.
But still I asked, “Do you want to go?” I knew the answer before he spoke… “Yes, but how can we afford it?”
I didn’t know the answer to that, but as I walked back to the office I pleaded with God to make a way.
When I got to my computer, I began looking at possible ticket options, and in the span of about 30 minutes, we had three different people offer to help get him home for the funeral without us ever expressing the specific need to any of them.
God is so faithful. He knew what we needed, and He made provision for it. I’m so thankful right now. Thankful that in 2 short days, my husband is getting on a plane to be with his family. Thankful that God cares about us and meets our needs. It’s going to be hard to be husband-less for the next week or so, but I know God’s taking care of both of us in the best possible way.
PS: They also offered to get me home, but for several reasons, it’s not a trip I can make right now. Just didn’t want you to think that I’m being left out in the cold. :)