Then I met Jenny.
30 something. Cute. New mother with two little kids. Breast cancer. Found it too late. Spread all over. Absolutely going to die.
Jenny had only one request. “I know I’m going to die, chaplain. I need time to finish this. It's for my kids. Pray with me that God will give me the strength to finish it.”
She showed me the needlepoint pillow she was making for her children. It was an “alphabet blocks and apples” kind of thing. She knew she would not be there for them. Would not drop them off at kindergarten, would not see baseball games, would not help her daughter pick out her first bra. No weddings, no grandkids. Nothing.
She had this fantasy that her children would cherish this thing - sleep with it, snuggle it. Someday it might be lovingly put on display at her daughter’s wedding. Perhaps there would be a moment of silence. Some part of her would be there.
I was totally hooked. We prayed. We believed. Jesus, this was the kind of prayer you could believe in. We were like idiots and fools.
A couple of days later I went to see her only to find the room filled with doctors and nurses. She was having violent convulsions and terrible pain. I watched while she died hard. Real hard.
As the door shut, the last thing I saw was the unfinished needlepoint lying on the floor.