Death Be Not Proud

“Death be not proud…”

They stood, strong and tall (and how is it they look so old?!), my Ash-man with the other boys in his eighth grade class. I’ve known them all since before they were born, and they recited together…

Tears began to form.

Yes. Death. Be. NOT. Proud.

“…Though some have called thee
mighty and dreadful…”

The grief, the ache, the groaning you cause is dreadful. I will give you that.

I found a card Saturday that I bought for my Nanny’s birthday. It was all about the beauty of who she is and how wonderful it was to grow and have relationship with her. And I sat on my knees by my bed heaving those gut-wrenching sobs. I miss her. She died 19 days before her birthday. Yes, there is a mighty anguish that death brings.

“…for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not…”

It has been three years since I said goodbye to my dear friend, Kim. The wound is still deep. I swallowed that throbbing lump in my throat numerous times throughout the weekend. But death has not overthrown her. She lives today. So do my Nanny and Pappy. So do the husbands and fathers and mothers and daughters and babies and aunts and sisters and brothers of friends who are grieving today (I ache with so many of my friends these days). Death has not overthrown them.

“…poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.”

And while I face every day with literal death in my body, death will not win. Every new ache and pain nags at me, “Has it spread? Is it exploding throughout my body? That spot by my liver, has it finally encroached?” It is easy to obsess over death’s icy tendrils as it fights to win. But y’all, even if one day this cancer take my life here; it won’t kill me.

For I carry hope in my earthen vessel. My expectation is from Him. My Savior died on the cross and had He stayed in the tomb, this sonnet could never have been written. But He conquered death and rose to life. He defeated the enemy.

Will I struggle? Yes. Will I fear? Yes. Will I grieve? Yes. But will I lose? No.

“One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more;”

Two days before she died, I curled up in Kim’s bed next to her. I stroked her hair and talked with her. My friend, Terri, and I sang hymns and shared memories. I watched her fade in and out of consciousness. And as I leaned in to kiss her cheek and say, “Goodbye,” she grabbed my arm, smiled softly and said, “I’ll see you soon.” One short sleep past. She has woken eternally. Death is no more for her.

I watched as the boys recited, and as they neared the end of the sonnet, my Ash-man straightened, he pushed up his chin with full assurance, and he stated forcefully.

“Death, thou shalt die.”

The enemy doesn’t win, y’all. No matter what heartbreak we go through, the enemy doesn’t win!

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud
(~John Donne)
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

(Many of you have seen and rejoiced with us on Facebook, but I wanted to share here, too. My oncologist shared the wonderful news that my tumor markers have dropped in half! The chemo and diet changes appear to be doing their job in the fight. We still have a long battle, but this makes it easier. Thank you for your love and prayers.)

One response to “Death Be Not Proud”

  1. Hurrah!!!!!!!


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