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It never gets easier.

Losing a member of your family never does.

The bond has nothing to do with biology.

Or blood.

Or adoption.

Family members don’t have to be branches on the same tree. They don’t need to share a last name or legal status or even long acquaintance.

But we are family because we serve together, worship together, bolster each other up in the bad times.

And rejoice together in the good.

So when a family member is called Home, we’re happy for them. That prime piece of paradise they’ve been eyeing longingly for years? It just became their inheritance.

That tent they lived in? Exchanged for a mansion instead.

But those of us left waving, longing, bereft?

Selfish, you bet, but we’d still rather have them here.

Last night Mike and I knelt by the side of a beloved member of our church family. We didn’t  meet Evelyn until she had passed 80, but for 13 years we watched this godly, gracious woman lead a class, teach the Scriptures and come alongside countless women. When my mom moved to town following the death of my dad, she and Evelyn became neighbors. Then dear friends.

How we all loved her.

When we arrived, the hospice staff stepped aside to give us space. She’s not conscious, we were told. The end is very near.

She wouldn’t know we were there.

But a God-loving woman knows the voice of her pastor like a sheep knows her shepherd.

The instant Mike began to pray over her, Evelyn’s eyes flew open.

While we sang of God’s faithfulness, she stared into the distance, searching for something far beyond the hospice room.

When my voice quavered and broke, her lids fluttered closed. But her warm grip on my hand tightened.

Prayers ascended, spiraling upward. Tears in his own eyes, Mike bent and kissed her forehead.

The call came first thing this morning.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of one of his saints.

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Evelyn

Evelyn M. Chaddock April 23, 1921 – June 23, 2015