I have a fellow writer friend, named Jolina Petersheim, who has written two books, The Outcast and The Midwife. She writes beautifully, she is young and attractive, she has a loving husband and two little girls — a toddler and a baby. Her faith is evident in everything she writes.
Jolina's life was the kind that is hard not to envy. She seemingly had everything.
And then two days after Christmas she wrote this on her blog:
“Where are you?” the nurse asked, shining a flashlight into my husband’s eyes.
“La Crosse, Wisconsin.” He winced. “The hospital.”
“And why are you here?”
“I have a brain tumor,” he said.
I turned away—eyes stinging—and stared down at the wet street, four floors below.
My husband has a brain tumor. Eight o’clock tomorrow morning he will undergo surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain—or actually this morning, for I am sitting on the cold bathroom floor in his hospital room, typing and pumping milk at 3:17 a.m.
I am at a loss to understand what I have just learned. On Christmas morning, my husband and I were post-road trip weary, eating buckwheat pancakes and drinking coffee, and now I could be a widow. At twenty-eight. With two young girls to tend and a solar-powered farm located almost six hundred miles from our immediate family.
Jolina has posted eight times since that first shocking one that expresses how this rocked her world. In her post on March 21, she wrote about how her toddler was afraid of her daddy when he was recovering from his brain surgery. She wrote:
She would hear his voice in the next room, and run toward the sound with her steps nimble and her face overjoyed, but as soon as she would see him—the shorn head and incisions—she would turn and run as if her beloved daddy had turned into a monster.
And then, on the fourth day, it happened:
The morning passed. We ate oatmeal and drank coffee. I did dishes, and then sat down to nurse our four-month-old.
My husband was typing on his laptop on the couch when our toddler grabbed her blankie, darted across the hardwood floor, and said, “Hold you?”
He scooped her up and held her close. I bowed my head over our infant, trying not to cry…
Jolina and her husband are living with the uncertainty of life at that time when most of us feel the most alive — young and in love, with children to care for. It is a soul-wrenching and faith-shaking uncertainty that is palpaple in Jolina's powerful writing.
Please keep Jolina, her husband, and their two precious little daughters in your thoughts and prayers.
Last week I wrote about our older son Paul's best friend, Ben's diagnosis of cancer. Here is an update on his treatment: He posted on his Caring Bridge website a few days ago, after his first four-day stint of chemotheraphy. He was in good spirits and had us laughing on matters that are not usually funny. He came through this stint of chemo with his humor, determination to beat the disease, and appetite intact. Please also keep him in your thougths and prayers.