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Issue 13 – Christ the King 2022


And It Was Good

On losing a husband.


The week before my husband died, I was sitting with him in his Philadelphia hospital room, gazing out the window at the view of the city’s skyline. I looked at his poor, suffering, scourged body. Over the past year, he had undergone at least ten bone marrow biopsies—all of which he had offered up for the salvation of his children’s souls—and almost as many rounds of chemotherapy, as well as a bone marrow transplant and countless other medical treatments for aggressive acute leukemia. He was so weak from his confinement that he could barely walk, and he needed oxygen support to help him to breathe. He had spent the better part of the thirty-fifth year of his life in isolation from his home, his friends, and his family—including our seven young children, the youngest of whom had been born a few months after he had been diagnosed and begun treatment. His doctors had just told us that, at this point, we had exhausted all possibilities of medical intervention. 

Sitting there together in that strange room, in a strange city, I told him that, though I didn’t know why God was asking him to die so young, or to be healed miraculously after an ordeal such as this, it was clear that God was calling him, and that he should meditate on the question of that calling, and on the question of how to respond to it. With his characteristic mixture of simplicity and gravity, of directness and thoughtfulness, my husband replied: “You’re saying that death is a calling.” I hadn’t meant, or hadn’t realized I’d meant, to convey that; the words were so stark, I could hardly bear to hear them. And yet, my husband was right—both in his clarification of my words, and in his own discernment of his calling and his task: Our Lord was calling him to suffer and to die, and his response was to meet his death with courageous hope, loving gratitude, and joyful integrity, united in the graces of God. 

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About the author

Kelly Lindquist

Kelly Lindquist lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her seven children. This essay appeared in the Christ the King 2022 issue of The Lamp, which is dedicated to the memory of her husband, Ian.