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Honduras – “Delight yourself in the Lord”

This past September, she was declared cancer-free. And oh, how we rejoiced! To see a child beat the odds. In a country where the circumstances already seem to be exponentially stacked against a child surviving, cancer seemed to be a certain death sentence. And yet, Osiris made it through. We thought this struggle was behind us.

Then, earlier this month, Osiris had the sudden onset of a host of strange symptoms over the course of a few hours. Testing revealed that she had a recurrence of her leukemia in her central nervous system — in layman’s terms, in her brain and spinal cord. She spent a few days in the hospital undergoing intensive treatment, until the doctor’s pulled Osiris’ mom aside and told her that Osiris wasn’t going to beat this recurrence. The family had the option of taking Osiris home, or staying at the hospital until she died. The family choose to go home.

Nearly 3 weeks ago, she came home. Again weak. Again fragile. Only this time, Osiris knew what was wrong. She has spent enough time in cancer wards these past 3 years to know that children die of cancer. And though she was losing the ability to do things for herself, her mind remained aware.

Osiris spent these last weeks surrounded by those who loved her. She had trips to the beach, and as she grew weaker, trips to simply sit in the hammock outside. Around her bed the family plastered decorative wrapping paper over concrete and cardboard walls to make it pretty, and they posted sheet after sheet with Osiris’ favorite scripture verses. Someone sat by her bedside 24 hours a day, talking with her, singing with her, praying with her.

On a shutter by the bed, Osiris had written her favorite verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” As she laid in her sick bed these past weeks, that verse was always within her gaze.

Shortly after she came home, she stopped speaking. No more conversations, no more songs to be sung together.  But she would grunt in agreement or response, and every once in a while, with a monumental effort, she would gather the strength to form a few words. And in those moments, her message to whoever was with her was always the same: “I love you.” They are the last words I heard her say: “I love you, doctora.” They are the last words she said to her mother, a woman so strong and brave. “I love you, mama.”

They are the words inscribed on her heart by Jesus, the words she so long heard him whisper, and now sees him say to her face: “I love you, Osiris.” This is a child whose heart knew Jesus. And as much as we grieve her death, the certainty of her place in heaven is our greatest peace.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

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