February 17, 1987 - March 21, 2013
Caitlin and Jen
(Photo taken 8/19/2012)
(Photo taken 8/19/2012)
Our sweet sister Caitlin fell asleep for the last time in my arms at dawn on March 21, 2013. She and I, at her request, had spent the last four weeks on an island in Maine with Dr. and Mrs. Howe. Her brother Nathan was with us as well and held her in his arms singing her favorite hymns for several hours just before she died. She had had an increasingly difficult time with breathing as the cancer encircled her left main stem bronchus but with oxygen she was able to enjoy life to the very end. The day before she died Nathan, Lyn Howe and I took her for a sleigh ride with Nathan or me pulling and Lyn coming behind with the oxygen tank. It was a ride she enjoyed to the fullest. The cold, clear Maine air helped her to breathe easier and she spent much of her time on the window seat looking out at the ocean. God was near and her last days were filled with joy despite the increasing shadow of the her cancer.
She loved the snow and wrote the following a few weeks before she died. “We got up here in time to experience the most exquisite winter snow I've ever seen! The clinging, mounding type that can pile itself 4 inches tall on slender twigs and balance there all day long. Sabbath evening and all day Sunday God showered silent manna upon this corner of the world. All has been hushed into wonderland. We took a leisurely tromp through it earlier. Rollo (the Howe’s dog) dashed around joyously as only a Rollo can. When the sun rose today, elfish breezes puffed at branch tips, spraying gold tinted shimmers in great spiraling shafts. And I wondered do angels have down? And if perchance, they molt - would it glitter like myriads of crystals suspended in gold?”
On Wednesday night, the week before she died, she had pain in her chest. The next day, nurse practitioner Mary Penner came to the house and applied a pain relieving poultice the ingredients of which may have helped but the precious prayer Mary offered and God’s incredible answer kept her pain-free with no medication for pain till the end. As those of you who knew her well might expect, she was gracious and thankful all of her days and each day rested in the surety of her heavenly Father's love. She trusted that a loving God who can "see around life's corners" had her best interest at heart.
I miss her more than words can express, but am comforted in the absolute assurance of seeing her again one day soon in heavenly places. I can think of no one who will enjoy heaven more than Caitlin. Promise me, won’t you, that you will be there with me to greet her on that dawn of the never-ending next day of her life. Thank you for your prayers and your love and care during this journey.
(View from Caitlin's window seat at dawn 3/21/13)