The Sister I Never Had
I always wished for a sister, even when my mother was pregnant with my younger brother. I had a wonderful name selected, but Madeline, became Bob, and the wish was over. But I had Vicki, a female cousin, with whom I was especially close, from our days as teammates in all the family football games to her many years as the Secretary/Treasurer to my Presidency of Disciple All Nations, Inc. Last week, I officiated at her graveside funeral service. Like the fighter she was, she beat cancer, then fought a long, courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As the Apostle Paul was writing his final letter, realizing that his days were quickly passing, he wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). He could have written that about Vicki. A couple of weeks ago, I received an updated text from Vicki. After sharing the most recent evaluation from the doctors, she wrote, “I’ve been fighting this disease for almost 2 years, but it’s time to stop fighting, and let nature take its course, unless God decides to intervene.” She “fought the good fight.” Furthermore, she “finished the race.” We wished for more, but she lived a full life. Many have lived less. As she put it, “So, it appears God has chosen to heal me in heaven, rather than healing me on earth.” Vicki “kept the faith.” In my last long visit with her, two days before she died, we talked about end-of-life things, funeral plans, burial plans, then she surprised me. “I want you to do one more thing for me” she said, “Tell me everything you tell others that you know about heaven.” A deeply committed believer, her request was not an admission of lack of faith. It was an affirmation that she believed everything I said. She “kept the faith.” Vicki will be missed. She was the sister I never had, and now, no longer have.